Friday, April 17, 2009
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
I did a quick search but did not find the literal English translation of the title of Milan Kundera's book ("Nesnesitelná lehkost byt"). Anybody out there speak Czech? I just wondered since sometimes a lot gets changed in translation. One of my favorite movies, called "Wings of Desire" in English, is named "Angels over Berlin" in German. I definitely prefer the German name to the translation. Even hearing the German words spoken aloud seems more fitting than "Wings of Desire."
Though - it's hard to imagine any phrase more beautiful, more perfect, than the unbearable lightness of being. It explains everything. The phrase kept looping through my mind as I sat on a bench in Lafayette Square yesterday. The park was awash with light, color, a whole lot of chirping, even some early season buzzing. Waves of sound from the Iranian protest in the distance came and went with the breeze. Every now and then about a dozen pigeons, for reasons I'm not likely to ever understand, would leave their perches, fly figure eights around the square and then return to the same tree where they'd been in the first place. For all I know, they returned to the same branches.
All the zillions of bright red tulips were impossible to ignore (who would want to?), children were whining and trudging alongside their parents, field trip guides were shouting to the groups of restless kids in front of them about the history of the White House. Of course there were also dozens of suited people talking on the cel phones, rushing by. How do those women walk so fast in those high heels?
There was so much BEING, so much LIFE going on in the square, it was almost overwhelming, almost unbearable.
Spring in DC is not shy. It comes on full blast. I was feeling a happy variety of awe yesterday, but some days all that action makes me so moody. I surrender to the power of Spring. Yowza.