Monday, April 2, 2018

Inspired by Goethe's ' Osterspaziergang '

Inspired by Goethe’s “Osterspaziergang”


Vom Eise befreit sind Strom und Bäche
Durch des Frühlings holden, belebenden Blick;
Im Tale grünet Hoffnungsglück;
Der alte Winter, in seiner Schwäche,
Zog sich in rauhe Berge zurück.
Von dorther sendet er, fliehend, nur
Ohnmächtige Schauer körnigen Eises
In Streifen über die grünende Flor;
Aber die Sonne duldet kein Weißes:
Überall regt sich Bildung und Streben,
Alles will sie mit Farben beleben;
Doch an Blumen fehlt’s im Revier,
Sie nimmt geputzte Menschen dafür.
Kehre dich um, von diesen Höhen
Nach der Stadt zurückzusehen.
Aus dem hohlen finstern Tor
Dringt ein buntes Gewimmel hervor.
Jeder sonnt sich heute so gern.
Sie feiern die Auferstehung des Herrn,
Denn sie sind selber auferstanden
Aus niedriger Häuser dumpfen Gemächern,
Aus Handwerks- und Gewerbesbanden,
Aus dem Druck von Giebeln und Dächern,
Aus der Straßen quetschender Enge,
Aus der Kirchen ehrwürdiger Nacht
Sind sie alle ans Licht gebracht.
Sieh nur, sieh! wie behend sich die Menge
Durch die Gärten und Felder zerschlägt,
Wie der Fluß, in Breit’ und Länge,
So manchen lustigen Nachen bewegt,
Und bis zum Sinken überladen
Entfernt sich dieser letzte Kahn.
Selbst von des Berges fernen Pfaden
Blinken uns farbige Kleider an.
Ich höre schon des Dorfs Getümmel,
Hier ist des Volkes wahrer Himmel,
Zufrieden jauchzet groß und klein.
Hier bin ich Mensch, hier darf ich’s sein!

Osterspaziergang aus “Faust 1” von Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I am choosing to start with my favorite Easter poem because this is how I feel about spring. Back home the Osterspaziergang would take my family traditionally to a creek, where we wander for hours on the meadows welcoming spring`s aroma, the blossoming of the “Palmkatzerln” and get our traditional Easter salad: the “Röhrlsalat”. Though I live in Los Angeles now, I keep the Osterspaziergang in nature as my ritual. Though the season for the “Röhrlsalat” or Löwenzahn Salat is already over in Southern California, for those who live in the Mid-West or on the East Coast the season of the dandelion is just beginning.
Röhrlsalat is the common expression for the young, fresh leaves of the Löwenzahn or dandelion.
When the leaves try to shoot out from the darkness of the soil into the sunlight. Therefore the dandelion leaves are sometimes yellowish, later on they turn into lush green. We always cut the dandelions with an inch of its root. Leave the roots if you are not much for the bitter taste. Do not cut fully grown dandelions or ones that show flowers. They are not edible and are poisonous!
Wash the leaves and roots well. Cook potatoes. Peal the skin off the still warm potatoes, cut them into slices and add them to the leaves. Salt the salad, pour apple vinegar and pumpkinseed oil over the dandelion salad. Garnish the Rohrlsalad with hard boiled Easter eggs. Serve Oster Pinze and “Geselchtem” ham with fresh horseradish.
I wish you a happy Easter and an Osterspaziergang that evokes the same joyful and powerful spirit in you as it did when Faust concluded at the end of his Easter Walk: “Here am I Man, here dare to be.”

From Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “Faust”, translation by Edgar Alfred Bowring, 1853

From the ice they are freed, the stream and brook,
By the Spring’s enlivening, lovely look;
The valley’s green with joys of hope;
The Winter old and weak ascends
Back to the rugged mountain slope.
From there, as he flees, he downward sends
An impotent shower of icy hail
Streaking over the verdant vale.
Ah! but the Sun will suffer no white,
Growth and formation stir everywhere,
‘Twould fain with colours make all things bright,
Though in the landscape are no blossoms fair.
Instead it takes gay-decked humanity.
Now turn around and from this height,
Looking backward, townward see.
Forth from the cave-like, gloomy gate
Crowds a motley and swarming array.
Everyone suns himself gladly today.
The Risen Lord they celebrate,
For they themselves have now arisen
From lowly houses’ mustiness,
From handicraft’s and factory’s prison,
From the roof and gables that oppress,
From the bystreets’ crushing narrowness,
From the churches’ venerable night,
They are all brought out into light.
See, only see, how quickly the masses
Scatter through gardens and fields remote;
How down and across the river passes
So many a merry pleasure-boat.
And over-laden, almost sinking,
The last full wherry moves away.
From yonder hill’s far pathways blinking,
Flash to us colours of garments gay.
Hark! Sounds of village joy arise;
Here is the people’s paradise,
Contented, great and small shout joyfully:
“Here I am Man, here dare it to be!”