Notes from Europe: Berlin

Note the flag above.

In Berlin each morning we woke to the improvisations of little Domingo in his cage ringing changes from the basic canary songbook.  Was Danny’s pet canary a genius? We couldn’t pretend to know why this caged bird sings so well but we could see this banner from Danny’s balcony in Neukoln.

Downstairs, a neighborly woman  saw me taking this photo and would have narrated the history of the last decade of local resistance to landlord depredations if I understood much more German than widerstand and verboten, which I don’t.  As it was she tried.

She pointed to the balcony of her own apartment, four floors up.  It was overflowing with well-tended plants and flowers.  Despite the language barrier she made it clear that she was resisting her landlord’s campaign to eliminate her garden, which he inexplicably regarded as dangerous.  Later Danny said that this landlord’s fear of nature run amok on balconies was becoming a phobia endemic among landlords in Neukoln. Since there is concerted resistance and spontaneous song even in Germany, could it be that conditions are less dire than we’ve begun to think?  A rhetorical question.

In the throes of composition.

Ernest Larsen

Ernest Larsen and Sherry Millner are writers and media makers.