Day 2: Metamorphosis

Monday, 14th June 2021

Part 1: Finding Stillness

Drowsily stretching in bed and checking my phone in the morning, I saw a caterpillar crawling towards the laptop. I looked away and back again: the tiny creature was gone without a trace. Surely you didn’t crawl through the ventilation slots, little one, did you?

After breakfast I visited Christoph and became best buddies with his adorable dog Tinkerbell. I asked if he had tools. Yes, Christoph has tools. He has all the tiny tools you need to open an old MacBook Pro Mid 2009, still alive and kickin’. I took off the ground plate, and there it was: the little caterpillar was resting comfortably on the SSD! Deciding that a laptop is not a good place for a caterpillar, I set it free. (Did I, though? Perhaps it was destined for metamorphosis there? My friend Niko later asked, “Maybe it actually wanted to join you on your travel?”)

Almost camouflaged caterpillar is almost camouflaged.

Christoph interviewed me for his podcast “Zukunftsweberei“, soon to be launched. It was my first time on a podcast, and I really enjoyed it. He asked excellent questions. I talked a lot, shared stories and thoughts, described my journey through physics, my time at CERN, the big changes in 2012, the transition towards Contemplative Science, and eventually the Mindful Researchers initiative. I was completely in my element. And then …

… I remembered stillness.

I cannot recall the details; perhaps it was triggered by sharing stories about my blessed encounters with Brother David Steindl-Rast in 2018 and 2019, perhaps it was amplified by Christoph’s presence. Yet as I remembered stillness, I too became still. The energy in our room shifted. We were suddenly finding ourselves in an intimate encounter with the Mystery. Ordinary ideas and “knowing” went to the background. What we exchanged from there onwards came from a different place, a different “knowing” that dwells behind the mirror of not-knowing.

Christoph, Tinkerbell and I bade each other farewell, and I returned for lunch with my aunt, my cousin Mareike and her son Julian, my nephew. I delighted in hearing about Mareike’s upcoming ventures with the Pioneers of Change and other ripening visions. Julian defeated me 10:7 in a fun garden soccer match. Then it was time to saddle my steelhorse and ride into the Northwest; 4 hours of driving were upon me.

Part 2: Crossing Borders

WHERE is the land of Luthany,
Where is the tract of Elenore?
I am bound therefor.

from “The Mistress of Vision” by Francis Thompson

A good hour into Bavaria, the highway customs police asked me to pull over, and we exited at the next parking opportunity. Two cops approached my door. I donned my mask, lowered the window, and we exchanged formal courtesies. I handed over my passport and papers.

“Are you nervous?”, the more talkative cop asked.

“Not too much. Why, are my hands shaking?” I looked at my hands.

“Yes indeed, sir. Have you ever taken drugs? Like cannabis?”

I thought for a moment. “It’s been a while … 2015, I think. Am I in trouble now?”

I’m sure the man grinned underneath his mask. “Not yet. Do you carry any weapons, drugs, or illegal substances with you now?”

“Of course not. Would you like to check the car?”

They wanted. I assisted where I could. The talkative cop had to go through ALL THE THINGS in the trunk. Meanwhile his colleague searched the front of my car, and I didn’t even notice. I kinda enjoyed speculating aloud about what might make a good secret cache, and empathetically denied the talkative cop’s speculation that a small flask filled with massage oil might contain k.o.-drops. That man did have humour!

“That instrument is hollow”, I said when he knocked on the uncovered RAV Vast and elicited some sounds. “It would actually make for an excellent cache, too!”

“How do you get all these ideas, sir?”, he asked. “Now you’re making me sooo curious.”

“I just have a vivid imagination”, I laughed. Perhaps I should offer my services to criminal investigation. If they ever need someone to give them ideas for how criminals might think, I’m a near inexhaustible source of creativity. On the other hand, I’d be a poor criminal myself, as the next minutes would reveal.

Pierce thy heart to find the key;
With thee take
Only what none else would keep …

from “The Mistress of Vision” by Francis Thompson

The talkative cop sent me to his colleage who asked me to empty my pockets on the engine hood. All fine. As I went back, the talkative cop held up a little flask. “And what’s this?”

“Oh! The CBD oil. I didn’t even remember packing it. But that’s not psychoactive, hence legal.” Cricket chirp. “Right?” Uncomfortable moments of silence. “Or is it illegal in Germany?”

“Here, read this.”

I confidently obliged. “THC <0.2%. Yes, but that’s far below being psychoactive. You’d have to swallow like a liter of that stuff.”

Guardian stag is watching (over) you.

I still didn’t see the problem, until he politely informed me that in Bavaria even the possession of such minimal amounts of THC was illegal. My feelings of unease increased.

Fortunately, the cops decided to let me pass and went on with their patrol. Perhaps my “case” would have meant tons of paperwork for actually nothing, and some other big fish out there was awaiting their dutiful inspection. With a sigh and a chuckle, I tossed the flask into a bin. Surprises on every corner! And a welcome break from the long drive.

Riding into a gorgeous sunset, I arrived in Windischeschenbach and checked into my Airbnb for that night. It wouldn’t take all too long until Morpheus embraced me under the watchful gaze of a plush stag.

Soundtrack of the Day

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