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Stories From California

Sometimes I want to write more than just journalistically about my experiences as a reporter. That is why I started to write down my thoughts, observations and emotions beyond scripts for radio, print and TV. This experiment is a lot of fun and scary at the same time. But, as they say, you have to get out of your comfort zone.

One Twenty, Twenty-one

Is the sun brighter? The air lighter? The sky wider?

A blanket I did not know I carried was lifted.

The first tears roll down my cheek when a woman in uniform pledges allegiance to this country not only in words but in sign language.

I watch in awe the young poet, fierce, in a yellow coat and red headband, her hands punctuating every line like birds in the winter air.

Her words and voice pierce through my heart, they sever and slash, soothe and caress, whip me awake.

Tell me to take

responsibility and help make

this world whole and united.

Remember her name

not just her fame

or her performing

It is Amanda Gorman.

She makes me want to be better, choose my clothes more wisely and my words, comb my hair with

So We Pretend - Marina del Rey, CA

I have a hard time these days putting into words what I see, hear, feel and think. Some days I am busy with radio work. Some days I go on walks with our puppy. Some days I can't stop crying while I watch a stupid movie with a talking dog.

Labor day weekend, a weekend of record heat and smoke-filled skies from fires in Southern California, I sat in Los Angeles' Marina looking out on the water with a cold drink next to me. Suddenly I thought: "How can we pretend that everything's ok?"

Later at home, I wrote this poem:

My Privilege to Breathe, Los Angeles - Minneapolis

May 25, 2020. Memorial Day. 6 PM in Los Angeles. We decide to prepare the tenderloin, sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts first, go to the beach for sunset, have a dinner and movie night at home. I start peeling potatoes while my husband marinates meat for the grill.

2000 miles northeast it's 8 PM. The sun has set. There is still a glow of light. The air is warm. An employee of the Cup Foods store, corner of 38th street and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis, Missouri calls the police. A man, he says, used a fake 20 dollar note to buy a pack of cigarettes. Eight minutes later a squad car arrives. 

6:20 PM Los Angeles. While I pour olive oil over the veggies, add fresh rosemary and lemon juice, 17 year old Darnella Frazier pushes the video button on her smartphone.

Take Me To The Beach - Dockweiler Beach, CA

What I am longing for the most these days is the ocean.

The beaches are closed in California, so I know I will not be able to put my feet into the Pacific for a while. I wanted to find out whether I would at least be able to feel the ocean breeze.

So I took my bike to see.

 

First surprise: the bike path behind our house is still open.

COVBikepathStart

What The Bird Knows, - del Rey, CA

I was lucky. When the corona virus restrictions started in California, I was staying in a secluded writing shed close to Malibu working on a 3 hour segment about bestselling writer Cornelia Funke for Deutschlandradio's, 'Die Lange Nacht'. I was in the middle of nature with almost no access to the internet, which turned out to be an even bigger blessing than I initially thought it would be. 

Coming back to my home office was a different story. I can not help but follow the news, scroll through Social Media feeds, keep way to busy instead of seavouring the moment to be still and wait for what needs to arise.

I do stare out of the window quite a lot though when I sit at my desk and try to make sense of it all. I am still working on the 'making sense' part, but staring out of the window at least made me write a new poem. Here it is:

WHAT THE BIRD KNOWS

I wonder what the bird knows/The red chested finch/A cheerful troubadour

Jumping from branch to branch/In the tree with purple flowers/That almost died ten years ago

Does the red chested finch miss the humming chant to its a capella song/The constant buzz of nonstop traffic

Does the air drift lighter through its feathers/Is it easier for the finch to breathe

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