Any of you familiar with Hermann Hesse? Hmmm, do I sense some eye rolls? So it goes.
During that apprenticeship (‘78) I alluded to earlier, I became a close friend with a gal, long talks and cuddling, not more.
One day she handed me a book and said “You, need to read this.”
Ironically, a few months earlier riding through the Black Forest on my bike, I pretty near blew out my knee on a steep hill that revealed itself to be wrong turn anyways.
That was the bad news, good news, now I was on top of the hill and could coast back down into the small town of CALW and having worked in Germany I had my Health Insurance Card with me, so that was that. Medical attention and a few days rest in a beautiful little Black Forest town that my “itinerary” had me riding through in a matter of minutes. The good and bad of adventures .
Beautiful place where I had a few days to recuperate get to know the town and discover the Hermann Hesse Museum. “Apparently the home town boy made good” I thought as I entered the museum. Walking out I felt amazing and joyful having discovered and made the acquaintance of a true friend and kindred spirit, even though he was long dead. I bought a couple of his books and read them with fascination and enjoyment at characters and a perspective I could relate to.
Now this sweet gal was handing me this book “Narcissus and Goldmund” - saying, ‘Trust me, you need to read this.’
What an insightful sweetie and friend she was and she was correct about the book. Being sort of a freakazoid to many, it was wonderful discovering others have been there and I was actually doing okay. Keep on keeping on. Looking back from 62 yrs, I did much better than many of my critics, satisfaction at old age is much more valuable than the transient gloating of youth.
But, I digress, not long ago I wound up reading a few reviews of the book and was shocked and irritated, thinking there you go, have a dozen people read a book and everyone will remember a different book depending on where they themselves were coming from. So where am I coming from. From a spiritual mate of both Hesse and Goldmund.
In his book “Narcissus and Goldmund” (despite many ill-informed superficial reviews floating around on the internet) the story is about Goldmund falling profoundly in love with ‘Women’ and becoming preoccupied with striving to understand/grasp/appreciate and then to sculpt the essence of the eternal Woman, Madonna. The eternal bearer and nurturer of children and lovers and home alike.
You could say he stepped outside the bounds of time and societal tunnel vision to see through to the whole of womanhood and he became obsessed with wanting to make a sculpture of The Woman, Madonna, one capable of breaking through the viewers emotional armor to the heart of our understanding.