The other day I read in the Smithsonian Magazine (May 2015) about what made people happy: “Physical closeness, which encourages human interaction; proximity to amenities, which creates the sense that what you need is readily at hand; green spaces, cultivated and wild, that provide places to play and explore; and varied architecture, which fosters a feeling of security, because it creates the sense that a place has existed for a long time. “All of these things create a genuine sense of safety,” says Rebecca Williams, “which is the most basic element of community and without which happiness is impossible.”

Blackbird singing in spring
We all have our individual, special but often very similar happiness niches. But these days it is hard to settle down and relax in the safety of our home and safe surroundings with so many upheavals around the globe, wars breaking out, devastating earthquakes, people leaving their home and risking their life for an uncertain future, freezing their feelings to the bare minimum of survival – I find it hard to concentrate on knitting and literature, hence the longer intervals between posts on my blog. 
Evening Sky Over Berlin

Sometimes one has to break camp without even knowing the new dwelling – twelve months ago I moved from the least populated Departement in France to the biggest city in Germany, Berlin. A megalopolis with over 440 000 trees spread over a surface of 892 m², improving the air for approx. 3.3 million inhabitants. Fields and forests, farms and parks, rivers and lakes make up the web of the city that is growing every day. 

Weeping Birch Tree – Betula Pendula

I am still taking my daily walks, but instead of feasting my eyes on“my” own garden flowers and centuries old oak trees I look into other people’s gardens, admiring their carefully tended formal flower beds as much as their neighbors’ nature hang-loose green space, which translates into “let it grow.” 

Red Chestnut Tree

The trees in Berlin are magnificent. One can become a “Baumpate”, adopting a tree to water it in summer and keep the place around the tree trunk clear of litter year round.  

Linden Tree – with crocusses adorning the foot of the tree
Wisteria – Glyzinie – Glycine

During those walks I find myself thinking of yarn colors to match the flowers’ abundance, one garden resembles Jane Thornley’s beautiful designs with multicolor yarns such as Madelinetosh or Blue Heron. I started giving those gardens yarn brand names: Habu metallic or Rowan Kidsilk Lace or the emperor of multicolor yarns Noro Silk Garden! Watch Noro’s Brand Concept video and you know what I mean with garden colors… Or satisfy your color temptation with Jane Thornley‘s Spring Ascension Shrug. I am knitting a long thin scarf with the colors of a Wisteria plant:

“Wisteria” scarf, long, thin, moving in the wind

 

Easy Moss Stitch

Wisteria Blossoms

Being new to Berlin, there is plenty to explore. An especially meaningful and moving event was the Kirschblütenfest, the Japanese Hanami festival, celebrating cherry blossoms in spring of each year. This Berlin Hanami Festival has a special background. To commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall thousands of private Japanese citizens, adults and children donated toward the planting of Japanese Cherry Trees along the path of the former wall as a gesture of congratulation and celebration. 

Japanese Cherry Trees – Commemorating the Fall of the Berlin Wall

And as the wall came down, thousands of cherry trees now line the path of the former wall separating the two German states. TV-Asahi supported the donation. The last Hanami took place on 26 April 2015 in Berlin. More than 30 stands at either end of the Boulevard offered food and drink and commemorative items. What a beautiful idea to turn a death-bringing wall into an ocean of flowers!

Flowering Cherry Trees – Their Petals Softening Your Steps
Cherry Blossoms
From the Japanese People: the Cherry Tree Gift
Cherry Tree Blossom Boulevard the Wall Turned Into Flowers