As the cold settles in on northern Germany it is easy to understand the idea of Hallow e’en. The celebration of spookiness was not a big thing in this part of the world, but masks and lanterns are now beginning to catch on. If your mind is primed by such ideas, then it is easy to notice cobwebs and old stone walls. The swaying of branches and rustling of leaves holds little fear in cities full of people. But one can see the prey caught in a spider’s web, the silent flight of an owl, the scurry of a dormouse through fallen leaves, and imagine what people in a different age may have felt.
I’m more enchanted by hothouse orchids which I saw in this season, growing in a nice warm room away from the blustery wind. If you have a halloweened mind, you could see ghosts and flying bats in them. There’s something for everyone in this dark season before the winter markets start.
Today Germany is celebrating the 500th anniversary of what is called the Reformation in Europe, the anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door of the church in the castle of Wittenberg. This led eventually to a Europe-wide religious war which lasted for a century, and a peace signed in Westphalia which divided the continent. More on this later.