20 minutes to find Styx

I had an appointment in town at nine o’ clock in the morning yesterday. I left early to make room for the morning rush hour holdups. Alas, for some reason there were none at all. Maybe the city of Berlin doesn’t rise that early or else, the school holiday had emptied out all residents and the tourists were still in their beds. Who knows, but I zipped in in no time and arrived 20 minutes early at the Austrian Embassy, which was still closed. It is located right next to Tiergarten, a huge park bang in the middle of town, on one side bordering a zoo, hence the name (Tiergarten= zoological gardens).

So I went for a stroll there and found a pond and little streams completely covered with duckweed (water lentil or lemna minor). It looks eerie to me, somehow. As if something were suffocating the water.

Back home in Austria, I have never seen any of this, maybe because I grew up in the mountains, where water flows fast downhill and this plant (it is not an algae, I learned this morning) can’t grow. But here in and around Berlin one often finds bodies of water partly or densly covered with it. Berlin is as flat as a pan, so water just sits here. People jokingly say, even big river Spree just slops back and forth, never flowing anywhere.

But back to the duckweed. I read up about it this morning and found amazing facts. It seemingly is one of the most nutricious and easy to grow plants on earth. It doubles every 16 – 32 hours and can be harvested daily. Some food industries are already using parts of this high proteine plant and say, it is the world’s most nutritionally complete and sustainable food source.

However, it still looks eerie to me. But yesterday morning, it did something wonderful. All those colourful leafes falling onto the water’s surface, were stuck in it or lay on the duckweed, creating weird, yet beautiful images. As long as some sun touched the variegated foliage, it looked brilliant. But in darker corners, where there were green and brown leafes only, it looked like that transition place between life and death. The matter separating life from death being common duckweed, the Styx of Berlin’s parks. With that in mind, I like the last photograph best. Are the leafes on the branch aware of the fact, that they are just a gust away from joining their forerunners?

singles

stuck

many

held2

detail

held

dead

still up

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