Elisabeth Ochsenfeld

Born in Timisoara, a wonderful town, to parents who had fled from Akerman-Southern Bessarabia now Ukraine, I had always dreamt of my grandparents' gardens. Gardens abounding in secrets and in flowers, mysteries and birches, apple trees and good fairies.

Chance would have it that Timisoara is called the "town of parks and flowers", and I also had a grandmother with me, albeit without a garden. In such surroundings, with such a benevolent, humorous, sympathetic person at my side, I grew up happily.

The literary encounters, in fragrant green childhoods spent in so many stories, forever hark-ened to the nostalgia of my unknown gardens. So I promised myself that one day I would give myself those grandparents' gardens as a present.

Then came Zoe's birth, the emigration to Germany, to Heidelberg, another wonderful city; but my garden was not to be found there, either. But then the Berlin Wall came down and the time had come.

I bought myself a house in a Banat mountain village, where I finally had the grandparents' garden of my dreams. I had been there as a child, I was there with Zoe when she was small, blonde, delicate, so butterfly light and colourful. My little fairy. There, time passes more slowly, the stars down on your shoulders, nature awakes a month later to suddenly paint the meadows with its powerful, upright, yellow dandelions. The woods become a harmony in lush green, as if a skilled artist was painting a favourite pattern free-hand over the hills and mountains.It is so, so wonderful in my grandparents' garden.

Most of the time I spend in Heidelberg and Frankfurt, there where my family and work are. And it will remain that way for the next years ...But when I sense a deep, great yearning for my garden, I paint the grasses, the herbs, the flowers and feel myself in the middle of my meadow, there far away in the mountains.

~Elisabeth Ochsenfeld


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