Monday, January 26, 2009

Shades of Gray

One of the captivating charms that Germany holds for me is the fact that just about everything is old. Practically every building and structure, crooked cobble stone road, garden and graveyard, all whisper stories of the days of old, that despite the years, are somehow not quite completely forgotten.
Almost ten years ago, after the Berlin Wall had come down, my husband's family had the opportunity to purchase one of the estate farms just inside the former DDR East German border. It is a beautiful property and the past years have been spent farming and renovating the former socialistic model dairy farm that was well known in the area.

As with the majority of the estates in former East Germany, dull shades of gray and poorly maintained grounds hide the former glory that was once obvious. Sometimes I feel a certain sadness that what was once so beautiful and glorious, has been stripped of its past splendor.

An afternoon walk carries one past quaint shingled roofs that have been enhanced by the presence of soft, spring green moss.

Churches were often neglected because material was not available for an institution that was thought to be an opponent to socialism. Many churches were repaired with the leftovers that the people could salvage resulting in many patch work and poor quality repairs. Such shabby restorations almost seem to pridefully display themselves as if they were battle scars from a long and fierce crusade that was fought, but not lost.

Many memorials and stone figures still remain from centuries old cemeteries that decorate church courtyards. Oh, if they could only speak... the stories they would tell. Despite all that they have seen and heard, I imagine that not all the tales would be told in shades of gray.

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