Saturday, August 27, 2011

PenelopeVFlores: Day 3 of Three Perfect Days: Understanding Dr. Jos...

PenelopeVFlores: Day 3 of Three Perfect Days: Understanding Dr. Jos...: On Day 3 of Three Perfect Days in Heidelberg-Wilhelmsfeld, I formulate some tools for enriching my experience by virtue of the fact that Ri...

Day 3 of Three Perfect Days: Understanding Dr. José Rizal's Legacy: Heidelberg-Wilhelmsfeld, Germany

On Day 3 of Three Perfect Days in Heidelberg-Wilhelmsfeld,  I should formulate some tools for enriching my experience by virtue of the fact that Rizal had a fascinating spot for Germany in his heart. The third day for me is a synthesis.  What have I learned?  How can I re-live and re-vive the Rizal spark in me?  I had been so numbed to utter hollow words every June 19th and December 30th.  I had been so used to just look at a light.  I have had little or no part in igniting a spark. But that spark cannot come from without.  It is by necessity a within-process.  I need this. We all need this.

I walked down the Theodor Heuss Bridge and followed the Neckar promenade northwards to the Old Bridge.  I said to myself, "This was the way Rizal took from the Eye Clinic where he practiced to the Old Bridge and on through the Odenwald forest". I passed several notable sites--the Stadthalle Congress center, The dark brown-bricked Old Armory and horse stables.  I reached the Bridge Monkey and stopped before the bridge gateway to admire the scene. The Neckar was visibly calm. Heidelberg people had always stood by the river banks, just as  Filipinos have stood by their river banks and sea shores. I also recall that as a child, Rizal stood on Calamba's Laguna lake shoreline.  He wondered if the people on the other side of the lake had the same opportunities and disadvantages he had.

Then the spark, in other words, the realization,  suddenly dawned on me.

The Tagalog people are Taga-ilog (of the river).  Antonio Luna writing for La Solidaridad used Taga-ilog as his pseudonym.

The Kapampangan are shore people (pampang, shore).

The Pangasinan people are from the salt sea beds (pang asin nan).

The Cebu people are divers (sugbu-dive).

The Mindanao and Lanao people are of the flood plains (danao-lanao, flood).

The Makati people are from the pool tide (kati, low tide).

Ilocos is a variant of Ilog ( Iloc, river).

Palawan people are of the island (pulao).

Pasig is short of pasigan banks (pasigut-sigut, river bend).

Abra is a river crossing.

The River (KOR) is the Spark!

Suddenly, I knew what I had to do. It has some connection to my recent trip to the Holy Land. A week ago, I was on the River Jordan and the Sea of Galilee.  On one hand, the river Jordan flows and gives water to all the tributaries along the way.  Jordan is a bubbly, living organism, full of sparkle and joie de vivre.  It distributes and shares it's blessings. Give, give, give, it gushes. And it becomes full of life.

On the other hand, there is the other body of water.  It is dank, dark, sulphorous, choked, and heavy with calcified silt.  It hoards it's waters. Mine, mine,  mine, it mutters. And it becomes the Dead Sea.

I was determined not to be just a ship that passed in the night in terms of the KOR Wilhelmsfeld-Heidelberg chapter and so I invited Idi and Rainer for a  dinner cruise along the Neckar river. The boat fittingly named Patria gave us the occasion to really sit down to a richly appointed dinner and to get to know more of each other. 

As the shadows lengthened, the western sun played hide-and-seek with the latticed ruins of the Heidelberg castle walls and its punctured windows up the hill. The boat moved out of its moorings and smoothed quietly over the bed of Neckar's still waters.  We dined like the Palatine Prince/s Ruprecht I, and Grand Duke Karl Friedrich of Baden,  founders of Heidelberg University in 1386,  500 years before Rizal came to the university.

The adventurous Sir Rainer ordered the Ostrich steak. Idi and I shook our heads and declined; "No, the halibut serves us fine".

The Neckar river scene unfolded. Rizal could have been inspired to write another nostalgic poem--"To the River of Heidelberg." Slowly, we inched by the neighborhood areas along the river banks. Families with kids were picnicking on the grounds. Pairs were absorbed in each other's eyes. The football teams were preparing for a match. Light shone through the multicolored glass windows of the Church of the Holy Spirit. We had a lovely setting full of promised surprises, while a sailing dinghy nearly clipped our ropes as it swooped dangerously by.

I asked Sir Rainer to look critically at my attempt to analyze the nexus between Rizal's European-ness and Rizal's Filipino-ness.  He shared his speech on Germany's influence on Rizal, delivered in Hamburg.  Idi presented a hand-crafted  gift of a Tiffany angel.  I gave a small token to the KOR Chapter.  He gave me a Wilhelmsfeld medal.  I promised to send him my latest book project. I perused the famous names on the Weber Visitor book registry. We poured over the neat Rizal penmanship of a Noli facsimile.  It was a treat to re-read and re-create the description of Wilhelmsfeld as reflected from the words of Crisostomo Ibarra to Maria Clara.

Idi and Rainer autographed my German books:  Wilhelm Tell (which Rizal translated in Tagalog) and Brȕder Grimm. Sir Rainer wrote:  "This is not the end, it is but the beginning of a wonderful friendship."  Idi inscribed:  "Tales with a rich background for a lady with a deep background."

I had gained new friends in Wilhelmsfeld-Heidelberg.  It was share and give--a river Jordan,  a river Neckar, a river Pasig.  Dr. José Rizal's spirit was happily beaming over us on that eventful relaxing boat ride on the river he so adored.

On Hauptstrasse among admirers, August 18, 2011, Heidelberg.
That evening, along the Neckar, at the end of a perfect three days stay, I lost my heart in Heidelberg with a better understanding of the legacy of Dr. José Rizal .

Thank you KOR for making this happen!!!