lost in mist
i’ve just come back from a 10-day trip to Bavaria/Germany where my colleague katharine and i delivered a couple of deep:black workshops at my former university. one of our main attractions for them is that we train essential social pedagogy core competencies – conflictability – in English.
i knew from last year that i was likely to feel a bit fuzzy with the constant mix of English and German; throw some Bavarian into the mix and the fuzz is getting really thick. it was then incredibly apt that on our last days a thick fog descended over the upper Bavarian landscape gobbling up entire mountain ranges with 1800m (5900ft) high peaks together with their spiky summit crosses and was greedily moving on to swallowing whole alpine lakes and medieval monasteries and was not stopping there: on our train journey back to london we realised that indeed a fluffy formation of fog had taken over large chunks of central Europe: all along the 1300km route from Benediktbeuern via Muenchen, Stuttgart and Paris we hardly saw anything of the surrounding landscapes, just a blur of hazy greens, browns and yellows. which wasn’t quite part of my plan of sharing this experience of trans-European travel with my colleague who had never been to Germany before. but there was a real beauty to it, too, a sense of timelessness and spacelessness, of mystery and anticipation: for the very moment when the white curtain would be lifted and the world behind unveiled. which never happened. on the foggiest stretch (unsurprisingly at Geislingen/Steige) we couldn’t see for more than 50 meters before the near distance blurred into a dense silent mass of nothingness. yet everything seemed possible behind that white wall. and the mist continued to hold arms and accompany us until we reached the Channel tunnel. i was a little surprised when we got into london late at night and found it rainy with no sign of mist – but i have since learned that even my housemates had woken up to thick fog on that day.
i’m quite amazed by this journey and how gliding through foggy European landscapes on smooth high-speed trains blurred boundaries and borders: all of a sudden places seemed much closer together and much more connected than differences in language, culture or political speeches and a stretch of water might make us believe. and a shared sense of mystery is probably quite a good starting point for inter-European relations?