January 8, 2013 by anelim
As I get off the airport bus, I see the TV tower at Alexanderplatz lost somewhere high above, in the mist. Almost all Frohe Weihnachten signs are now gone and the streets are pitch dark – looks like no one has dusted the stars in a long time. I’m quickly reminded that, unlike in England, here walking about with your coat unzipped is not an expression of mere coolness, but a recipe for getting a cold. Of course, this is only true for foreigners. Indefatigable locals who never give in to colds whiz past me on their light bikes. The Cycling Berliners are the opposite of the Flying Dutchmen: they are always here and there is no way to ignore them. I avoid a collision between my black suitcase and one of the bright yellow Cyclops. Past the empty shop windows, the closed newspaper shop, the locked up donner kebap stall, towards one of the multiple metro entrances, I scurry like a hobbit to my hole.
There is a new graffiti in the block entrance. And someone has stolen the seat of my bike. On the good side, the rest of the bike is still here and no one has broken in to my place. It is time for tea, and then someone should dust some of those dusty stars.
P.S. I’m not talking nonsense (not really), just remembering one of my favourite Russian books, Правда, мы будем всегда? (We shall live forever, won’t we?), by Sergei Kozlov, in one of the chapters of which the little Hedgehog wants to make the night forest a brighter place. The Guardian wrote a nice obituary for him in 2010. The book has been published in English as “Hedgehog and Bear” jointly by Yuri Norstein (Author), Sergey Kozlov (Author), and Francesca Yarbusova (Illustrator). Some day I would like to write my own translation of this book.
Below are two different animations made out of the book. The first one, by Yuri Norstein (listed as co-author of the English edition), has the same spooky mist as Berlin in January, but doesn’t show the dusting of the stars. The second one, by Alla Gracheva is more childish and the stars get a decent clean. And for my fellow hedgehog addicts out there – here is a whole list of videolinks to Russian animations about hedgehogs!!! I just love the motto at the top of the page: In hedgehogs we trust…
Вот так уже целый месяц каждый вечер ежик с медвежонком лазали на сосну и протирали звезды.