I love springtime in Germany. The corner fruit and vegetable stands are up and many are already open. On Friday, the doorbell rang. It was a farmer, who was going house to house, selling his day's crop: spring potatoes, asparagus (the mysterious white kind that Germans prefer to green), and strawberries. What could be better than farm-fresh, locally grown produce delivered to the door?
Flowers are blooming everywhere, and the sweet scent of flowers perfumes the air (except when the wind blows, and then we smell manure from the farms outside the city). At the moment, the air is still and the smell is delightful.
Soon pollen will coat every surface of the house, since we love having the windows open. Germans are oddly opposed to this: they have a fear of the "draft" and are quite convinced that a draft of air brings illness. They keep doors closed to reduce movement of air within the home. We, on the other hand, are quite convinced that improved air circulation has the opposite effect. Windows are wide open, doors propped, so they can't slam shut in a gust of wind. The downside is that we must deal with a perpetual coating of yellow on everything for about six weeks each spring (it doesn't matter how often I dust, the pollen is always there).
This year, the pollen will be mixed with ash from the volcanic eruption in Iceland. I found the first evidence of it this morning. The skies are oddly quiet without the sound of airplanes overhead. It is very peaceful. An unexpected side effect of earth's dynamic existence.