“Fichte replied, ‘We create the world not out of our imagination, but out of our sense of duty. We need the world so that we may have the greatest possible number of opportunities to do our duty. That is what justifies philosophy, and German philosophy in particular.’ . . . . Fritz suddenly stood still in the middle of the Unterer Markt, letting the others stagger on in ragged groups without him, and said aloud to the starts, ‘I see the fault in Fichte’s system. There is no place in it for love.'” Penelope Fitzgerald, The Blue Flower
It occurs to me that I’ve been living a rather Germanic life of late.
“Here comes the herd,” says the individual as he does every evening. The stream of commuters flows across the street. He moos and I tumble down the stairs towards the subway. “Walrus,” says the man in the hat as we shuffle upstairs from the subway to the train platforms, “Walrus, walrus.” We apparently have similar schedules. Tonight as the train passes the river, the air is full of hundreds of swallows flicking back and forth across the blue.
This morning, my bathroom window was full of jewels as I brushed my teeth, still damp from the bath. The light now moves slantwise across the day – autumn is arriving. Already there’s a pleasant little chill in the air, though it’s supposed to climb to 90 this weekend. I’m feeling a little detached, a little bit wrapped in cotton wool and stowed in a box somewhere. Time for a long walk along the river this weekend to watch the herons and think about nothing in particular. Life in a strange city feels like life in a foreign country where everyone’s speaking a language unfamiliar to me. I feel cast adrift, a leaf on the current, no longer certain of my destination.