About Life’s Sweetness and Lack of Attention

Writing has definitely not been at the forefront of my activities in the recent weeks, with time flying past my busy mind at breakneck speed. Being a paid official of the state is akin to a marathon runner on a final stretch that never ends. You are given charge of a mandate impossible to fulfil and this frenetic stress has started to take its toll. The situation is compounded by my firm belief in good governance. To me it is obvious that the human being is not a mere mass of isolated individuals with each one of us rummaging about somewhere totally on our own. Social structures grow naturally within the varied groupings we men and women happen to form, and only when some of our members step forward and take upon themselves the responsibility of guiding our tribe towards a brighter future will man be able to meet nature’s strict demands of evolution and improvement. What am I to do as the leader of a small but restless pack of youngsters who in a couple weeks time are pushed over the edge into the abyss of working life?

In order to pay my moral and contractual dues as an educator up to a reasonable standard I find myself involved and absorbed 24/7, making plans, digging around for ideas, analyzing things around me and wondering how to direct the gaze of my distracted pupils towards them, and of course above all and always worrying way too much. Therefore my reporting to you about the ongoing adventure of human existence in the civilized world has become somewhat a separate track in my daily dealings. That track seems to have split away drifting into a parallel universe, with my stretched out legs simply not long enough to bridge the opening gap between here and there.

What I am pretty certain of is that I’m taking my professional responsibilities way too serious. But that is nothing else than the most recent incarnation of a notorious disease running through the genes of my family tree. You have most probably heard me sing a song or two about that before, especially those of you who have known me for a while. I actually don’t mind that trait, without going as far as bragging about it. It provides me with the needed motivation to go on, to continue the push for the impossible, the search for the boundaries of those frenetic mental contortions with which we modern beings try to asphyxiate our very last notion for what is real.

I have now decided that in order to circumvent the grave seriousness of this present situation, which I will have to tackle in the solitude of my own self, I would like to offer you two very valuable distractions for your personal perusal. Lulled in by my lustful lullabies you will be able to still your boundless thirst for stories of adventures delivered to your very own rocking chair.

But first, coming to think of it, there certainly are moments where the dullness of everyday life in small town Switzerland cracks open and reveals outstanding bouts of healthy craziness. This might come across as a bit of a surprise in this land of mantic orderliness, but you will now hear living proof that spontaneity is stronger than the most well-thought-through order imposed upon us by some control freak in the upper stratosphere of human society. It is an incident of the most amusing and refreshing variety I’d like to share with you.

On a recent afternoon, one of the very few lazy ones I got, I am scratching around for some harmonic-sounding riff on my guitar in the living room of our third story flat, when I happen to have a glance out the window onto the facade of the opposite row of apartment blocks. In the windows on the uppermost floor there I usually see the sky reflected. I now happen to see some brightly colored stripes passing across one of them. Those stripes are moving slowly but deliberately but don’t really seem to make sense to my musing mind. I have a pretty good spatial awareness of the world around me and it doesn’t take me long to realize that whatever is causing this illusion in front of me must originate from a place behind me. I put my guitar gently down on the floor and run across the hallway into my office with a view on the other side of the flat. Its window opens out towards the gentle ranges of the Jura Mountains that run along Switzerland’s northwestern border. But before that your gaze has already wandered over a rolling wheat field, a line of crooked apple trees, a hamlet made up of a former bathhouse turned restaurant and sizeable farm of present horse breeders, a colored forest front, and then it loses itself into the darker blues of distant forest-capped hilltops.

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After unlocking the latch and swinging the window inwards I lean out and am treated to a truly unusual sight: Four men come running across this same sprouting grain field holding on to a thick black cord. This cord in turn turns upwards towards the sky in front of them and as it turns out it happens to be tethered to a full-size hot air balloon. The lofty vehicle and the gondola suspended under its mighty belly are rapidly losing height and find themselves on collision course with the first row of our apartment blocks!

From the gondola some bearded bloke with a resemblance of a founding father of some stern nation shouts on top of his lungs and with his cupped hand pressed like Neptune’s conch against his face: “Are there any men down there who could come and help?” He seems to be dazzled by the fast approach of the upcoming obstacle and crisp fear stands etched into his well-pronounced profile. I consider myself to be of sufficient manhood to answer the stranger’s call, run for my phone, fly down the stairs of our building and shoot out of the entrance into the street.

The unusual occurrence had caused people to stop and look heavenwards. I turn East and as I pass the corner of our very rectangular agglomeration, there it is. Suspended in the bright blue sky and hovering above the concrete façades of the Überbauung, the globe had managed to regain some height, pull up its tether and the piloting party is now happily sailing on. A little further down towards the center of town they try their luck again with yet another decent into urban terrain, but obviously once again without success.

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Those two failed attempts in a row must have hurt in their pride enough to finally decide to crank up the heat and get sufficiently aloft where they can search for more favorable winds further up in the atmosphere. What had made those time-travelling aerial adventurers want to steer their giant vessel in full decent towards a populated area in the first place remains something of a mystery to me. I can only guess at a good portion of desperate inexperience, which brings about the question of how that jolly bunch has managed to circumvent the most certainly stringent laws around Swiss aerial sports and take their brave adventurous spirit up towards the clouds. It certainly was something unusual in the monotony of bourgeois everyday life, something I am definitely not seeing in front of my office window every day.

But now on to the two announced distractions: The first one is a sample from my rough and tumble career as a musician, where with earnest discipline and a lot of practicing I’m trying to reach the famed realm of silence through organizing sound. It is a piano piece of the mellower kind, meant to put the active listener at ease with him- or herself. I very much hope you enjoy it. There are plans to put more of my music online within the foreseeable future but I should stop making promises I might not have envy to fulfill.

The second distraction is a true and worthy substitute for my own lack of literary consistency. I’d like you to go and visit the blog of a man who stands at the very beginning of his journey as a wanderer of the watery earth. He happens to have spent the last eight years tucked away in a building shed somewhere in moist and atmospherically mostly miserable Southern England, preparing the great exodus from a way of life run awful and awry. Just these last days he has finally left his homeland for good and if his first report from under way is any indication, it will be a great delight for all of us armchair sailors to follow him on his mission to go beyond the horizons of normality! Neil, may your journey be mighty and revealing, and may your life be long enough to tell the tale!

Since I never seem to be able to stick to the plan, here’s a third distraction to top of the two I had announced. Should you be interested in what the two of us do here on a regular basis, Beatriz is much better in reporting how we actually spend our time here in my homeland, and her view is of course spiced up by her exotic stance as an outsider coming in: Switzerland viewed through Colombian eyes! For all those of you whose face has joined the book you can subscribe your vivid interest to her account and click on all possible likes to your carpal tunnel’s delight! (Apparently you need to be logged into fb for these links to work!)

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2 Responses to “About Life’s Sweetness and Lack of Attention”

  1. Beatriz Restrepo Says:

    Beautiful experiences.

  2. Beatriz Restrepo Says:

    Beautiful Beat’s interpretation!!!! I love it

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