Finding Focus Through Frustration

The winter sky was overcast as we stepped off the bus on our way to a conference on the October Revolution. Through Halle’s bustling Christmas market where schoolchildren were tooting some holiday tunes to a meager crowd, down a side street where the only spot of color was a fence that boldly stated, “IT’S TOO LATE TO BLAME YOUR PARENTS,” we wound our way to the rather grand university building and slipped into seats just as the event was set to start.

For all that’s said about Germans being punctual, you can depend on German universities to start events late. Nearly every university event I’ve attended over the past two years has begun well after the set time- but maybe that’s just German consistency. In any case, the first lecture started a solid 20 minutes late, a good chunk into the first of three 90-minute sessions which would address how the October Revolution has affected or will affect the past, present, and potential future of communism.

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Lights in the Fog

The fog outside is so thick. I stare out at it as though staring at it long enough will make it go away. I long to see the stars that are surely shining down already, way up above the clouds. Last night I saw them. I walked out of town, walked and walked until I came to a farmer’s field, when I stepped off the path and started out through the frost-laden dead ends of corn stalks and soft dirt. Someone passing on a bike laughed as I crunched my first few steps, then they were gone and I was alone. I was invisible in the darkness with only stars and moon above. The moon hides tonight, blanketed in the fog. Is she tired of showing her beauty? I should excuse her, but her rest makes me restless. It can be lonely living an ocean away from my family and most close friends, especially in the darkest hours of the winter, but lights in the sky connect us anywhere in the world.

Lethargically I dress for a run. Although the sun set two hours ago, I haven’t been outside yet today. It’ll be cold I’m sure, but I don’t know how much yet. I strap on a headlamp over my hat, just in case, and take a deep breath before opening the door.

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