I love all beginnings, despite their anxiousness and their uncertainty,
which belong to every commencement.— Rainer Maria Rilke
When I begin a new adventure—a new project, a new job, a new year—I turn for inspiration to two Bohemian adventurers: my great-grandmother Lizzie Schwartz and the poet Rainer Maria Rilke.
Lizzie was born in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) at the very same time as the poet Rilke, both starting life in the grand city of Prague. I like to think of this: They lived in the same city, shared the same space, the same air, the same streets. Perhaps that is why I am so drawn to Rilke. The river Vltava flows through my veins.
Rilke ventured into the world of feeling and words and beauty despite the chaotic state of the world, traveling to Germany, Russia, Spain, Italy, France, and eventually to Switzerland, where he was buried. Rilke, one the greatest poets of the Twentieth Century, knew a great deal about change, risk, new beginnings, and how to love them.
My great-grandmother left Prague about the same time as Rilke, but for different reasons. She immigrated to the US, married a German Jew—who died while her children were still young—staked out land in the Oklahoma Land Run, and sold diamonds out of a hotel she built by a railroad station. She was not known outside her world of family and friends and train travelers, but she is famous to me.
Both of these Prague-born adventurers knew about beginnings and how to enter them with all the zest and wonder and vulnerability of a newly hatched bird. . . . Click here to read the entire post 🙂