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  • Seth J Coblentz

Staycation

There comes a time for many of us that we must embrace the life we never imagined. This is not to say we are not living a good (or even best) life, but rather that we need to adapt to choices we have made and even those we have not. My greatest adaptation is climate on the most basic level. Sure there have been many others, cultural, linguistic, professional and so on. Yet, living in Miami for the last 20 years afforded me the opportunity to wake up any day of the year (almost) and sport some spandex and go for a swim, or ride, or run... all before 6AM. A great form of meditation before entering the office for 10 hours a day. This practice has come to a screeching halt here in Germany. For starters, it is dark, really dark, until around 8AM in the Winter months... and black again shortly after 4PM. And I don't go to an office these days and deal with external imposed deadlines. Now, I have to make my own deadlines and new pathways. By no means is this a complaint, but it does require a good degree of self discipline. Moreover, my jaunts to Frankfurt or meeting up with friends has been annulled due to Covid and a touch of inclement weather.

As I write, I've now cancelled 4 trips to Miami due to the pandemic. I'm complaining at a high level as our life here is safe and routine. But I miss a few friends, the familiar sky and routines and most of all my immediate family. Kathrin and I have a bit more freedom since Rumi will not be popping out puppies next week as we had hoped. We thought to go to Italy and do some skiing, but that too is now verboten as Covid cases are on the rise here (though miniscule compared to Miami and LA). Turns out, staying at home and being in the present has been a great boon. We received about a foot of snow last week and are being reminded how incredible our home (Schmitten) is and the greater Taunus forest region.

I traded in my bike for cross country skis and have learned that my confidence has taken quite the beating... cross country skiing is more technical than I imagined and my downhill skiing skills don't translate in the least. But let us return to staycation and dogs. The Taunus region of Germany is a network of trails and hidden treasures. The Feldberg peak tops out at 879.5 meters, exactly 100 meters shy of Rocacorba in Girona (Catalonia), a cycling mecca. So while it is not the Alps, it is neither insignificant.

This morning we did a long walk with the dogs, more than 15KM, with a rise in elevation of 400 meters. We navigated the trails as the random tree collapsed and fell to the forest floor under the weight of the snow. Eventually we found our way to the main road up to the Feldberg that was closed for two reasons: first the idiot out of towners who violated the Covid restrictions and freely congregated and sled with dozens of family members and second, the falling trees that are a grave risk to anyone entering. As to the first, it was a spectacle to see our backyard in Arnoldshain, which rarely sees more than a dozen people in the field with dogs during any given day... being transformed to a thousand plus families from Frankfurt and the outskirts enjoying the slopes. The streets were closed due to traffic, eventually. I was delighted to see so much sign of life in our sleepy village, my wife much less so. She, being a good citizen of planet Earth, was discouraged by all of the law breakers. Looking at the ochlocracy march upon Capitol Hill recently and the disgusting Trump incited chaos, I appreciate her point of view more than ever.

The beauty part of today was watching all three dogs off the leash as they ran up and down the closed mountain pass to Feldberg. On any other day, there would be thousands of cars and motorcycles buzzing at high speeds from Schmitten to Oberursel and beyond. Today was deeply quiet. Something I'm learning to appreciate. The sense of snow is amazing, it absorbs all noise. Included here are some photos of the dogs... and hopefully a sense of deep peace. Feeling lucky to be in nature and with family, however that shapes up for us all.

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