by ST

It’s 6:30, the alarm clock is ringing. There is only hitting the snooze button so many times before eventually I have to get up, eat the food off my plate, drink coffee from  my cup and put on my corporate uniform. What for? Surely putting food on the table is not the only reason to go to work every morning. Indeed I enjoy working with my colleagues and care about the projects I’m responsible for. At least I have learned to care. And the next holiday in Gran Canaria is going to make up for the stress I go through when my supplier – once more – is just not just in time. At least I hope it will make up for it.


The sun is rising, that’s when they get up. No alarm clock, no electricity. They all have their own very distinguishable plates and cups to eat and drink from and also their very own position in the line when marching down to the magic cave to mine some gems. The seven dwarves never take more than they need, there is no five star resort in Las Palmas to pay for, only flour for the pancakes. And they whistle, every morning on their way to work they whistle. When was the last time I whistled on my way to work? I cannot remember. Of course, they are drawings by Walt Disney and if I had a gem mine in my backyard my life would look rather different. Yet – it’s that whistle that really separates their life from mine.


It was the Brothers Grim that around 1820 put the fairy tale of Snow-white and the seven dwarves in writing while they were traveling various cities in order to collect stories that they considered worth conserving. While they certainly made adaptions to some of the stories they tell us about in their Children’s and Household Tales, none of

them sprung from their own imagination. They were told to brothers by family members, friends, neighbours and also by complete strangers they met on their journeys.


Often I think about such life: full of travels, new acquaintances and multifaceted stories, one which is worth to have a book dedicated to. It would be wishful and naïve to simply abandon everything but my plate and my cup and start wandering around with no plan and nothing but the hope to encounter stories that fulfill this wish. Yet it’s just as naïve to believe that one day I will have a life stable enough to support me through expeditions and adventures without any risk. And it is also just as far from realistic to hope to fulfill all my travel wishes once I retire as it is to find gems in my garden. Of course I will travel when I am 70! But it will certainly be different to what I’d experience if I set sail this very summer.


There is nothing wrong with stability and few things are greater than a profession that one enjoys, that is respectable and earns a decent salary that allows us the little luxury that make our lives so much more enjoyable. But it will hardly ever be those December days that start at the office before the sun rises and end when it has already set that make the stories we tell our friends. And certainly those days never make the stories I hope to tell my grandchildren. Those are the stories that start when the sun rises in the summer – whistling on my way into the world to find the shiniest gems and meet the most colourful characters.