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10 posts from October 2010



Etienne brought sunflowers on Sunday and they shed an exquisite pollen.



Kindergarten children gather chestnuts in the fall.

Ten years


Ten years and a day ago I walked out of my sublet flat at the end of Lychener Straße and followed the slow meander of Kastanienallee past Hackescher Markt down Unter den Linden. There were balloons everywhere. I walked in a crowd through the Brandenburg Gate and as we passed beneath the lintel, one man said to another Zehn Jahre. I have seldom heard two words so freighted with meaning.

I walked through Mitte today, from Friedrichstraße to Pariser Platz, especially alive to the glossy office buildings and hotels that were once vacant lots and scruffy parks. Two days ago we moved, to a flat 300 meters from that one I lived in a decade ago. German friends tell me how much Berlin reminds them of London these days. Londoners might smile, but sitting in a glossy, anonymous cafe in Taubenstraße this afternoon, I glimpsed what they meant. Change in Berlin is an ancient story, one I feel hardly qualified to tell, but the past superimposed onto the present, home and the loss of home, a stabbing nostalgia, an urge to recollect, preoccupy me just now.