Monday, November 09, 2009

Day Nine - on which Sandra plays hooky in order to celebrate an historic event -

I may, in fact, get my 2,000 words in, but somehow that doesn't seem as important as coming here. I'll come back later and add a postscript with my word count.

 Some of us are old enough to remember the Cold War and the fear that was implanted in us as children. Our bodies remember how to crawl under our school desks to protect ourselves from nuclear attack (Yep). And we remember the symbols of that war. One of the most visible of those symbols was the Berlin Wall, which divided Germany from August 13, 1961 to November 9, 1989.

All day, I've been hearing reports about celebrations of the twentieth anniversary of the wall's fall. I heard that a wall of about a thousand foam dominoes was erected in Berlin today, only to be knocked over by school children. What beautiful symbolism.

I also heard that two days after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich walked up to Checkpoint Charlie, took out his Stradivarius cello,  and played this:

As my own celebration, I'm posting Robert Frost's "Mending Wall." After today, I think I'll move it over to the sidebar for a while. Some things really are worth commemorating.

Mending Wall, by Robert Lee Frost

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
"Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbours."
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbours? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down." I could say "Elves" to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbours."

Poem - Source:
Photo - Source: Flickr

Here's to the breaking down of barriers, the fall of walls, the reunion of the human family.

p.s. 2,053 tonight, 19,822 total.


Barry said...

It's odd to think that the wall has now been down for almost as long as it was up. It was already in place when I first began to take notice of world events, but it feels as if it came down only last week. Not twenty years ago.

Sandra Leigh said...

Yes, it seems that as we get older, time collapses. Twenty years is a blink of the eye. Do you remember when it seemed that Christmas took forever to come around? Now, I find myself saying "Didn't we just do this?"

Julie said...

What an exquisite post. Thanks so much! That music is stunning and was used in Master and Commander and is a piece that always makes me smile. But today, listening while reading that beautiful poem made me teary. Thanks for the reminder of the moments that prove that we are progressing. :)

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