I've gone from the beautifully stimulating hustle and bustle of Berlin to the quiet birdsong in the foothills of the Austrian alps. I waken with the sun and go sit on the terrace, listening to the doves sing a duet only to be interrupted by a magpie's jealous growling-kaw. I'm learning a lot from birdsong.
I'm also learning a lot from Roberta, the automatic lawnmower who is currently my closest compatriot in the village. She seems to speak English. Sometimes when I'm sunning myself on the middle terrace, she thoughtfully roves past me, inspecting the length of the grass. In a few minutes time, she may trundle past on a completely different path, blades running. She doesn't attempt to interrupt my daily appointment with the morning sun. Roberta may sometime need to rescue me from wandering off into the forest on the hill opposite my back garden. I hear this mysterious and muffled moaning voice coming echoing out of the forest across the hillsides. I know this sound to be the beginning of a very bad fairy tale, wherein the travelling, lonesome female is carried off on some promise of ravishing love or foodstuff (for those who know me best, you know it's more likely to be food).
Most days, I walk up the hill to dance with Monika, who has the most playful spirit you can imagine for a dancer graced with years of dignity. She can be in one moment commanding, and in another toying and capricious. She has been teaching me how to engage my core in exercises that I had never conceived of that are kicking my ass. I love it! I have to talk her down sometimes though from doing too much; yesterday, she almost bought me some new shoes that we saw and I liked immediately in the village post office/fashion shop/cigarette stall. 'I can come back for them if I like them,' says I. 'Anyway, you're teaching me ballet and making me pizza!'
I am incredibly grateful for this place. I'm reading, writing even more, recording... and remembering the Rachel that slows down and turns inside. And I am even more grateful to you, dear friends and readers.
I leave you with this link to a fairy tale upon which I've been ruminating. This Skeleton Woman... she is me. But that's for another blog... x