Food for Thought-Lingonberries from Ljubljana (The Fourteenth Letter)


10 May 1957
Belgrade, The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
After the time the rain began, ceased, and began again

Dear Friend and Esteemed Finder of Lost Things,

As I read my calendar, the week has ended. Accordingly a new week will soon begin. The impending one hundred sixty eight hours offer the chance to listen to innumerable records, eat fourteen breakfasts*, and pursue the most elusive avian between Ljubljana* and Skopje*.

In silence, the sounds of the Picus Viridius* mean nothing. Silence must give birth to sound for us to see the art we cannot hear. The partial experience of beauty so embodied by the dull undertones of a low pecking Viridius are like the seeds from which the total experience of beauty is grown. While we may be prisoners to the calendars of linear time, the Picus offers us a shelter from the gods of chronos* and kairos*; a place to step back from the present without remembering the future. If we are not present to hear and appreciate its song and gentle tapping, are we not like patrons, wandering the museum in pitch darkness? I would argue yes.

I thank you for the lingonberry jam. As you know, I have made many attempts to plant vaccinium vitis-idaea*. Due to my inability to find enough dirt, I’ve been reduced to purchasing lingonberry jam in exclusive Bulgarian markets or in ordinary restaurants selling toast. To know that I may simply walk into my kitchen, remove a knife and spread this elixir upon a piece of bread is almost too much to contemplate.

Yours friend,


*fourteen breakfasts some persons ate two breakfasts per day, one early, one late
*Ljubljana the capital of Slovenia
* Skopje the capital of Macedonia
* Picus Viridius the common European Woodpecker
* Chronos and Kairos the ancient Greek concepts of chronological/linear and circular time
* Vaccinium vitis-idaea the Ligonberry