Happy New Year!

This new year’s day, Simon and I went went for a walk in a nature reserve West of Hamburg called the Boberger D√ľnen, the Boberg Dunes. A lovely afternoon and somewhat mystical start to 2020, full of fog, muffled sounds and hazy apparitions. It sure looks like the weather wants me to stick to black and white for now.

I am always excited about the new year, and find the first day of it significant, if only symbolically. I once did a story for a German magazine about the country of Tonga, one of the places that the dateline runs through, making it one of the first countries to greet the new day, and every given thing that happens there the first instance of it worldwide: the first bread being baked, the first baby born, the first kiss blown. (And, let’s be realistic here: the first fight, the first accident, the first headache, too). This feeling of “firstness” carried me through the entire stay there, and gave our experiences a sense of freshness and subtle meaning.

I really didn’t expect for anything to happen on our walk through the dunes, and was more concerned with not loosing our way in the fog, keeping Simon moving so his joints wouldn’t freeze up, and looking for possible images out of the corner of my eye.

Half an hour into our walk we crossed over into a little dune valley, and saw, some 50 feet ahead, a guy sitting in front of a makeshift tent, tending to a little fire. Curious! Interesting. Was he open for questions, or did he want to be alone? I walked across the sand (because I am a photographer and need to know what everybody is doing :)) and asked if we may approach. “Sure!”, he said, “Would you like a cup of tea?”.

But of course!

And so I met Holger, who shared with us his spot in the dunes until it got too cold, a cup of freshly brewed Rooibos tea, and, in smartphone photos, his passion for building African drums in a painstakingly slow process that defies any financial reasoning, but is something that he simply HAS to do in order to be happy.
Holger was here to celebrate the new year as well, to light a fire, see who would stop to have a tea with him, take his shirt off to appreciate the 1 hour of sunshine, and just be present to the first day of 2020.

I stayed for a short half hour and chatted, exchanged numbers (possible video project? Sweet …), and on Simon and I went. Thank you, Holger. What a lovely start to a new year. If this first day is any indication of things to come, 2020 will be a good one.

And to all of you: my best wishes for a fantastic new year. May your hearts be full, your vision clear, your spirit at ease and your life safe and protected.

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