The name Sorrow Lake is fictitious and appears in two of the Interwoven Stories. The actual location is Lake Dümmer in Lembruch, Lower Saxony (Germany). The drive down from Bremen, if you veer off the A1 National Highway is a breathtakingly picturesque journey through the countryside. I’m sure it is stunning in Spring and Summer, and I wish I could rent a cottage here to spend my days writing, but since the only chance to visit it was yesterday, I embraced the beauty and mystery of the lake in winter.

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My Sorrow Lake (Lake Dümmer) ©MT Herzog

The lake left me stunned from the moment I laid eyes on it. Assorted sailing clubs and water-related activities are all based along the edge of the water, which has a total circumference of 18km. But everything was still, shut down for the Christmas holidays and the winter season. Only local residents strolling, jogging or cycling along the promenade could be encountered sporadically, and all the playgrounds were completely deserted. In short, the lake was our to savor and photograph to our hearts content – or at least shortly before corporal freezing point and then you had to move on and keep walking.

The emptiness and the hovering fog that are part and parcel of the lake’s atmosphere mirrored my soul to a tee that afternoon. The name Dümmer See (Lake Dümmer) was the furthest thing from my mind and all I could think of was Sorrow Lake. I’ve been so busy working and traveling this last week that I haven’t had time to confront my own vulnerability and sorrow, until yesterday.

At some point I couldn’t tell anymore whether it was breath fogging up the lens or my tears, but it was cold, and in spite of the marvelous company, circumstances conspired to draw out from me what needed to be cast into the lake. Water, whether it is an ocean in Asia or a lake in Europe, has always been my place and time to literally drown my sorrows and seek the courage I lack.

The power of the lake was undeniable, and I half expected a water nymph to appear out it at some point, offering to lighten my pain and burdens, but instead, I was treated to seagulls, geese, egrets, and absolute silence.

Click here for the full set of photographs that accompany this text.

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