We’ve been on this road to November for quite a while now and while we were busy taking in the sites we forgot to realise that we’d already arrived.
Prophecies long held by neanderthals and weathermen and college students all led to the conclusion that the streets should now be paved with a soft layer of white, or at least some slowly melting sludge.
The white is yet to arrive but the grey gets brighter every day.
The air has turned honest and invigorating. Every breath is clear and cold and true, like swimming in fresh water just after the ice has melted away. It’s a reminder of life, of fragility and equal parts strength.
The polar North of this planet, the frozen peak of the world, is close, closer than it every has been before, but here in Mannheim you could be forgiven for forgetting it. The low earthen bowl of criss-crossing rivers and thick, hearty soil has soaked up all the warmth it could throughout the year and is surrendering it as slowly as it possibly can.
But winter still approaches. Even if Jack Frost hasn’t arrived just yet, there are signs of his approach. The rain falls quietly and inoffensively, falling from a soft slate sky to land quietly in the decaying beds of Autumn. The streets are slick and brown with the final passing of Spring.
Across the city, natives saunter and laugh in the drizzle. Auslanders grumble and hide under parkas and umbrellas, but none of us are deterred. We won’t soon forget Summer and sunshine and orange even if the world denies it to us and paints our field of vision in oily grey.
The river flows and oozes, as it always has and always will, past industrial works and stone, rippling here and there and bearing the unnatural patterns of human progress. Ships pass silently and slowly through these waters. From above, over the obsidian and silver and safe in the iron and concrete nest of humanity, one might not notice them at all.
In stark contrast and loud defiance of the lazy world around, trains scream by, guided by steel and capable minds, pushed along by the arcane science of electricity. Sparks shoot and explode like miniature supernovas from above.
Across the river and far away are the spears of industry, piercing the sky, white hot and potent. They deliver their steamy breath to the already swollen sky, the burnt remnants of a billion years mingle with the unsullied clouds to form a bubbling blanket across the city and for miles and miles and miles around.
The painted voice of the street is all that is left saturated and bright in a world turned a melancholy hue. The wet continues to pound the pavement and dye everything it touches with the dark and the heaviness that it always has. Now, for this brief moment in time, November is master.
But November is transitory. It is a nervous hermit, passing through on its way to nothingness and solitude again. There is beauty in it’s trail, though; in the wet and the cold. Soon November will pass and we will lament the loss of its ambience; the feeling of damp crows watching and dead leaves rotting and electric pyres burning and sodden metal glistening.
Mannheim is really beautiful in the rain.