Wörlitz (Germany) Stein (map)
Thursday, 30 July 2015
When evening falls, and visitors to Wörlitz Park have been sitting down for a while, guzzling a Eulen beer and mulling over the impressions of the day, then the rock stays back alone with the wind. Half-grotto, half-castle, this unique construction juts out over not just the island and the sea, but also the oceans of wheat in the area – like a picture that remains hanging out of a dream. The hat on its head is a fire-oven that had once spewed smoke and robust sparks of embers – much to the pleasure of the public that had readily responded to Prince Leopold III Friedrich Franz’s invitation to marvel at this volcano.
What sort of passion had the man who created this garden, and a volcano in the measure of man, nursed in his breast? Have I ever seen a volcano in such a way? The volcanoes on Santa Lemusa, in Iceland, in Japan – didn’t they in the first instance mean “overwhelming”? Why, otherwise, would I need to always immediately sort out or classify the experience, and link it with the little knowledge that I have in such things? Why else all this nervousness? Years earlier, while I was witnessing a small eruption of Mount Etna, I had asked myself, first of all, whether I was not too close to the happening and, as such, in danger. And this thought had barely dissolved when the feeling of avid uncertainty had arisen about whether I was in the best spot, close enough, to witness the spectacle in all its drama. In short: my anxiety and my vanity had produced such a fog in my mind that the volcano had vanished behind it into the far distance.
Here in Wörlitz, however, the park instructs me about where to stand – and here, I have decidedly the best view. Sad that the volcano now seldom spews fire – because this is an experience I could certainly deal with. Perhaps this was the passion the prince had nursed in his heart, perhaps he had wanted to create an artificial world that one can encounter at eye level, a world that is not overly taxing. That would also explain the slight sense of melancholy that creeps into my heart at the sight of this rock.
First Publication: 28-7-2015