There are no good things, no right things to say about today. As a historian, part of me wants to say something, but honestly, the rehashing to the point of movies and a picture of the towers on the front page of the local paper sickens me.

Instead, I think it’s more appropriate to share with you my all time favorite piece, at least the English translation of the words. If you have a chance, please do give it a listen. This is Der Abschied, from Gustav Mahler’s symphony Das Lied von der Erde.

The sun departs behind the mountains.
In all the valleys, evening descends
with its cooling shadows.
O look! Like a silver boat,
the moon floats on the blue sky-lake above.
I feel the fine wind wafting
behind the dark spruce.

The brook sings loudly through the darkness.
The flowers stand out palely in the twilight.
The earth breathes, full of peace and sleep,
and all yearning wishes to dream now.
Weary men go home,
to learn in sleep
forgotten happiness and youth.
The birds crouch silently in their branches.
The world is asleep!

It blows coolly in the shadows of my spruce.
I stand here and wait for my friend;
I wait to bid him a last farewell.
I yearn, my friend, at your side
to enjoy the beauty of this evening.
Where do you tarry? You leave me alone for so long!
I wander up and down with my lute,
on paths swelling with soft grass.
O beauty! O eternal love – eternal, love-intoxicated world!

He dismounted and handed him the drink
of parting. He asked him where
he would go, and also why it must be.
He spoke, his voice was choked: My friend,
on this earth, fortune has not been kind to me!
Where do I go? I will go, wander in the mountains.
I seek peace for my lonely heart.
I wander to find my homeland, my home.
I will never stray to foreign lands.
Quiet is my heart, waiting for its hour!

The dear earth everywhere
blooms in spring and grows green
afresh! Everywhere and eternally,
distant places have blue skies!
Eternally… eternally…