Faithful followers, forgive my absence. England made me ill, as usual, and the last few days back in Berlin have been consumed with filling in blanks. Every year around this time the plans for the next year emerge all at once. Until this week, I knew not where I would be come September. It transpires that I shall remain in Berlin another year, which is really not such a bad thing. Memories of winter bleakness are fading quickly among the blossoms.
I’m not sure there is anything more difficult for a man than uncertainty. One tries to stride forth manfully, but one risks looking a fool, at best, when one marches headlong into a crevasse. Knowing where one is going is key, even if one only has a rough bearing, but sometimes it seems as if one must wait for outside forces to determine the direction. Here I usually turn to Baden-Powell.
‘Paddle your own canoe!’, sayeth Sir Robert, and we heartily concur. The river flows this way and that, and will take us where it will if we let it. Should we sit back and wait for fate, the river will crash us over falls and dash us against rocks, drown us in maelstroms, and strand us on unfriendly shores. We cannot help the river’s current, but we can negotiate it with tenacity, strength and skill. Paddle the bloody craft, and set course. When faced with uncertainty, one must take control of what one can. Specifics may remain hazy – geography, job, and so forth – but this haziness does not prevent one from keeping a firm grip on one’s oar, one’s purpose.
If anyone needs me, I’ll be on the Spree, paddling my own canoe.