A love song, in Munich

Munich spotlight hazeThe sun wasn’t as warm as memory promised it would be. The grass perhaps thinner, mud between the stalks, and itchy on my calves, which felt awkward in shorts after so long under professional trousers. I wanted so badly to enjoy my afternoon off in Munich, the city that most surprised me with it’s beauty when this new job introduced us. So I’d returned to the English Gardens, green and liquid among the concrete realities of urban modernity, seeking the easy summer joy I’d found there last time, when my friend/mentor and I had earned the respect of our Teutonic neighbors with our beer garden food trays.


“You are going to eat all of zis?” They inquired. “No, zis is not possible.” They informed. “Sehr gut!” They soon praised.


But this time, supper was solitary, crushed granola bar dug out of backpack bottom. And no bicycle, just the implacability of my own feet, again, still, always, forward because it’s easier than stopping. But now I’d paused, by a river that didn’t care, with no one to talk to about it. My nature, my vagabond urges, my desire to connect with the planet that threatens to disconnect me from my people, felt closer than my kin. And the water wouldn’t talk to me.

Munich escalator autumn

But this age, this semiconductor madness, it has its perks, and the phone in my pocket connected me with the woman back home. The woman I missed. The partner I loved. The deeper dream I wanted to reach. To reconcile with my wanderlust. And now the setting sun wasn’t abandoning, it was saluting. The air wasn’t sucking the warmth from my flesh, it was enlivening my skin. I wasn’t alone and forgotten, I was adrift in a city, the way I love to be.


My steps into the park had been dragging, an effort to reach someplace where Good would start. My steps out were light, aware that Good starts within. I was feeling that flow when I reached the musician.


I’d passed him before, but busy seeking the melody of happiness in my headphoned isolation, so had nodded hello and kept on. Now I took the earbuds out and listened to him. He was good. Soul and skill. I dropped a euro of gratitude in his case, and we got to talking, sharing who we were that day, until another voice spoke up.Connection in English Gardens Munich summer


“Excuse me,” it said in a soft German accent. “I just wanted to sank you for your playing. She likes it very much.”


The smiling man was pushing a stroller. Inside, an infant daughter watched the guitar player with a focus that seemed enlightened. Her infant’s inability to form facial expressions left her focus somehow pristine, unmuddled by self-consciousness or the details of communication. Just pure attention, approaching easy adoration. The joy coming from this tiny vulnerable creature felt invincible.


“Would you like another?” asked the guitarist. Then he sang her a love song, smooth and sweet, as evening light caressed down through the trees, which stood around to watch this tiny, perfect child listen to a musician’s harmony and care. And I, privileged witness, could only feel that the world was again in its perfect orbit.

Munich musician in the English Gardens summer

(The guitar player can be found here.)