Year of Grace, Day 110. A twilight walk in Kreuzberg

Kreuzberg, just uphill from the house, has a lovely chapel with rococo décor and frescos, and stairs that penitents use to climb up (on hands and knees ?) to get to the altar. But my friend and I didn’t look in on the chapel this time. Instead we took a short walk around the chapel grounds. Short, because night was fast approaching.

We went counterclockwise, going first to take in the view of Bonn spread out below. To the far horizon, on such a clear day, we were able to glimpse the spires of the Cologne Cathedral or Kölner Dom, as it is called locally. Apparently it is a favourite place to watch the setting sun. But the sun had already set. There was a couple sitting there on a bench strategically positioned to take in the marvelous view. I was glad to see there was no litter around: the previous time I was there with family was the day after New Year two years ago, and spent firecrackers and all sorts of trash had ruined the pleasure of the view.

The walking path winds around behind the chapel and is just wide enough for two or three abreast, beyond which the land slopes rather steeply downwards. The downhill slopes are forested with conifers. Further along on the upslope where more sun filters through and the canopy is more open, there were colonies of snowdrops, biding their time to full bloom, just as in my garden.

And on the way back, my camera, my faithful companion wherever I go, recovered. Earlier it could only open its lens midway, perhaps warning me more seriously that it’s time for a replacement. I was truly grateful to manage a few photographs of the gorgeous crocuses that lined the path up to the chapel. The crocuses were breathtaking in the fading light – white and blue chalices rising out of the ground – pristine and unsullied by rain-splashed mud.

Other things to be grateful for this early spring morning: the sun making a brief appearance – it’s gone now. But for the short while that it shone, it highlighted two magpies who made a lovely study of black and white against the white trunk and branches and black twigs of the birch trees, with a backdrop of a clear azure sky.  At first they were on separate branches, then one hopped over to join the other further up on the birch. And there the two birds sat side by side companionably and cozily, gazing out over the treetops in the same direction. They didn’t wait for me to grab my camera however. But that scene, brief though it was, was more than sufficient to brighten up my day.

A red squirrel glided along its accustomed path down from the poplar and across a branch of the cherry tree and downwards to the garden. Perhaps it’s come to steal a bit of the birds’ breakfast of peanuts. And just as I am writing this,  it has bounded right back up. It is a blessing to witness these lovely scenes from my window as I write.

The one constant in life, as is always said, is change. And yesterday, which began with snow flurries, changed into a brilliant sunny day after all. And so, the sun’s disappearance might just be temporary. It could still decide to come out again later. And indeed it has! Praise, praise!

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