Das Sternchen

I adore how the German language has created such specific words for feelings I often have.

Wanderlust (The almost sexual urge to wander)

Fernweh (Far away sickness, the opposite of being homesick)

Waldeinsamkeit (spiritual loneliness in the forest)

Mauerbauertraurigkeit (the inexplicable urge to push people away .. literally; wall-builder-sadness)

The other night I found myself on the side of a country road being asked if I was having car troubles. “No, I’m just looking at the stars.” Orion was so bright I felt like I could reach out and touch his belt. But he was far far away, out of reach.

Lately it has been foggy and dark in the city. I wake up, draw my blinds, then shut them again. My heart sinks. I turn on all the lights in the house, drink a big mug of coffee, wear bright colors, decorate with flowers…

Yesterday I just couldn’t take it anymore. I felt as though my own head was just as clogged as the air, and I needed to go out into the wilderness to find clarity. I tried to drive into the mountains, up out of the clouds. I had been wanting to go to Snoqualmie Falls, so I headed there. When I got to the falls my heart sank again. Nature is not without a sense of humor. Visibility was impossible. The mist and fog were so thick I could barely see five feet in front of me, much less a waterfall.

I decided to have a breakfast at the lodge, write in my journal, and then be on my way. It made for some delicious eavesdropping and people watching. Everyone around me looked so cold and unapproachable. I don’t think I had seen a smile the whole day. It made me think of the murder mystery show I’ve been loving: Marple.

Which person here will be poisoned by their pancakes?

One of the things I love about Jane Marple is how she seems to always know someone wherever she goes. She always has a friend. And she’s never shy or shirking about it. She is always brave and impossibly adorable at all times. And continually meeting new people. I thought, I wish I was more like her. I am not brave. In fact, I’m sure I look just as unapproachable as all these other people.

I have a hard time connecting with people sometimes. I get nervous around old friends and new people. I am terribly socially anxious.

I watched a documentary the other day of a crew in Antarctica. They put buckets on their heads, holding onto a rope, strung together, helping each other get to the next location. It seemed ridiculous, but they knew if there was a bad enough storm, that would be exactly how it would feel, so they practiced. I looked out the window that was supposed to have a beautiful view of the valley, but was full of fog instead, and I thought of those men.

I thought, maybe what I need isn’t to find some kind of clarity or to get out of the fog. Maybe what I need is to be more like Jane Marple. Like the men in Antarctica. Make connections with the people around me.

I went into the gift shop and started talking to the woman behind the desk. She brightened and told me all about how the valley hardly ever cleared in this kind of weather, but that sometimes you can see better from below. Oh! She was one of those syrupy ladies who call you hon. I felt a little spark inside.

I got excited. I hiked to the river look out. I let the rumble of the water, the thimbleberry twigs, and furry moss absorb into me. I had that feeling where you think you might cry, but you can’t understand why because you’re so delighted. A strange, beautiful loneliness. Waldeinsamkeit! I prayed that God would help me see. (In more ways than one.)

What if? What if? I thought. I smiled at everyone I passed.

When I got down to the bottom, there it was. Curling mist rose up into the white expanse above me, the water below swirling all aqua and emerald and froth. I told the girl standing next to me I loved her scarf. Her smile was the color of the river.

Sometimes you don’t realize how depressed you are until you aren’t any more. When I found the sun I could not believe how dark the morning had been. How had I lived in such darkness? I had a party to go to that night with the kindreds, a murder mystery theme. I had been feeling like I would just stay home and go to bed. When I came out of my funk I got excited about what I would wear, how fun it would be to see the girls…I would dress like Jane Marple!

The next morning I went to Flower world with the girls and got blue eggs and strawberry wine. We giggled at fluffy chickens and silly sheep. I came home and made Beau stop working and we had a picnic in the living room. After dinner I saw a wisp of pink above the trees through the window.

I thought, That’s IT! I got the ladder out and tried to get onto my roof. I failed: I’m terrified of heights! I swore under my breath and grabbed the keys. Beau laughed at me and said, “hope you find it.”

I drove to the cemetery to watch the sun set. It had been another day of thick fog in the city, but as the sun set the mist rose and made swirls and whorls of cotton candy light. I watched the city twinkle below me, silhouettes of crosses and angels in the foreground. The village clock tower glowed. I felt as though I was flying above it with tink, second star to the right!

I had made my way, wandered and searched, and found a connection.

I was with Orion, now, shining bright.
*Das Sternchen means starlet :)

3 thoughts on “Das Sternchen

  1. Pingback: Ho Hum | sarah in real life

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