I’ve been writing about Sophie and Michael packing up their lives in Marburg when I remembered that I do have some photographs of the town from that long ago trip. Digging out the photo albums and my travel diary, I am very grateful for having recorded some details.
I had totally forgotten that the guesthouse (Haus Müller) in which we stayed was on the same street as Elizabethkirke. In fact, the Jaeckels could have walked past it every day. Apparently, in our one day in Marburg we visited the Elizabethkirke, climbed the hill to the Schloss, went to the university museum in the castle and then walked along the river past the university. No wonder my main memory of that time is aching feet.
How green Marburg looks in these photographs. I have forgotten what green looks like. I remember being astonished by the trees and flowers everywhere. Even last year, watching the Tour de France on television, I spent much of the time exclaiming over the trees instead of the riders. When we first moved to Minnesota, my eyes ached from the multitude of shades of green. I longed for the soft tones of gum trees, dusty grass and faded denim hills. Then I learnt about how many shades of grey snow and ice can be. And my yearning redoubled.
The Jaeckels would have experienced all this in reverse. The hills surrounding each town are the only things that would look familiar. Perhaps the shape of them against the horizon comforts them. Will they learn to appreciate the beauty of our dry and dusty hills or will they yearn for emerald and mist? I came home after seven years, but I was a visitor, officially an alien, not a migrant. I had the luxury of nostalgia.