It is one of those wet, cool spring nights in New England.
It is a good evening to have finished supper early. You get to sit with the light of rooms, lamp light and window light, two lights just a little while longer and then one of them will win. And your mood will change in some way that you cannot quite predict while there are still houses bright enough outside that you see them across the street and accept them into your day.
This is the kind of evening you remember with wistfulness and yearning when you are away from home. You might be like my oldest brother in a couple of weeks, walking the streets of Paris for the first time, watching another city’s way of calming down in early evening. The women and men of Paris will be heading home, descending the steps of Metro stations and leaving the sidewalks to visitors. My brother and his wife may briefly miss having a definite place they really want to go back to that evening – or, rather, a place that really wants them back.
Today I have been remembering a neighborhood in Munich through which I was walking on a spring night two years ago. It was a Sunday evening and I had found my way into Lehel for evening prayer at a Franciscan monastery church. No one joined me on the unfamiliar sidewalks although it was not yet dark. It was just Sunday evening, and there was little reason for the women and men of Munich to prefer any place to home. I was neither lonely nor frightened, but I was aware of a great, old city that was going to be itself with only me and a possible few others to see it do that in that neighborhood.
I am listening to German radio these days, thanks to TuneIn Radio. I catch words, recognize the patterns of German sentences without knowing for sure what they are saying. I lean into the German words, excited by the possibility that I might almost understand something from just the tone of the speaker. It takes a while but eventually I admit that there is little enough in what is being said that I really need to hear.
It is just a pleasure to be eager to understand.
It was a pleasure that Munich evening to be walking under a particular sky and to become aware that you were getting to look up into it.