Tag Archives: low light

World Goth Day, Observation and Contemplation

23 May

Another exploration of Düsseldorf’s Nordfriedhof, in the twilight of the evening hour and short before rain set in. It’s becoming a habit and I keep being surprised by how much splendor and pomp but also food for thought this place has to offer. Some facts:

The graveyard is the closest nearby place, where I can enjoy a bit of calm and solitude in “nature”. There are wild parts, reminiscent of English landscape gardens, which occur quite magical to the senses. On the other hand, the majority of graves is fostered with an accuracy resembling that of miniature baroque gardens. The ballast bed trend is also taking over people’s last place of rest. There are exceptions, with lush planting gone wild, such as the grave covered in columbine, which is pictured above.

The caretakers seem to employ ecological concepts and care for biodiversity. E.g. I found an abandoned sandy part, previously covered in black nightshade, and now filled with fragrant phacelia, which is a soil conditioner and attracts a multitude of pollinating insects, not only honey bees. There are bee hives being implemented on this graveyard. There is a small pond visited by various water fowl as well grey herons and I spotted at least one large bird of prey, a common buzzard. The entrance on one side smells heavily like fox. There is a huge population of rabbits digging burrows all across the graveyard, which is probably not to the liking of all bereaved, but partly amusing to observe.

There is an abundance of large and impressive family gravesites as well as memorials for the victims of WWI and WWII. The annexed stonemason does an admirable job with the restoration of the historical gravesites.

It is easy to become enticed by the romanticism conveyed through the abundance and sheer beauty of the place and its funerary art. Yet I am also finding something oppressive or at least overwhelming about this. There is some money flowing into the maintenance of these graves, which are also a symbol of status and an ultimate expression of people’s egos. This in turn touches upon my own ego and leaves me behind with mixed feelings.

As much as I am occupied with the topic of death and the dead, I am part of a generation that will likely not enjoy the luxury of such post-mortem vanity. In truth, it has always been only a small part of humanity to take part in such luxury. Further, the fate of today’s youth is likely, to dissolve into spirit and not leaving much traces of physical existence behind. The larger mankind grows, the less space it will have for its exponentially growing amount of bodies. Neither are the monuments built over decades to last forever. However, they help to implement and strengthen the status of a few over a certain period.

Yet I keep returning to these places, which exhibit at least 2 centuries of opulent European grave culture, while caught in a dichotomy between the modern world and the past, between ego obsessions and spiritual ideals, between personal emotions and the need for detachment.

Sakura Whispers

8 Apr

Path of petals

Japanese Pavilion

Sakura Whispers

Dresden blue hour

Favorite time of day, dim light, overcast sky. New camera and lens. Minimal editing.

Pale Glow

8 Apr

April nightfall – chill, raindrops on pale petals of daffodils and tulips, roses

The garden after dark, all the myths…

In antiquity a marriage outside one’s social class would bring shame over the family. Abductions were staged to justify such liaison.(1) Against this background the story of the abduction of Persephone appears in a new light. It enabled her to be part of and live in two worlds, which were otherwise closed away from each other. She maintained the privileges of the world of the living, but also dined with the dead in the underworld and was let into its secrets. According to legend she picked daffodils when Hades ‘abducted’ her to the underworld. Her story remains fascinating, her flowers remind us of it.

Martin Luther too staged his abduction. Believed to be dead by his foes, he used the time ‘in the dark’ to translate the bible from original sources into German language (with a little help from his friends), one of the most significant cultural contributions of mankind. His signature flower became the rose. (2)

(1) Harold Roth, The Witching Herbs, p. 48 “Kidnapped Brides

(2) The Luther seal or Luther rose is a widely recognized symbol for Lutheranism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luther_rose

Besides…

I watched lots of docus on Arte +7. Yes, the one about the comet (so amazing) and the series on space time and matter. About the chief and the forests. Also earlier about the super plants. And now I am hung up on the magic garden series… eg this one about the garden as a place of initiation:  http://www.arte.tv/guide/de/057898-003-A/magische-garten