The shoestrings of the girl sitting next to me on the train are green. The girl has blond hair and her iPhone has pink ears. When she leaves her shoestrings are still open, fluttering green in the wind. In the newspaper they say in Chicago they will dye the river green on St. Patrick’s day. I am not quite sure if it is the Charles River, named after King Charles I., who lost his head in 1649. Anthony van Dyck portrayed him once, riding on a white horse through a wide open gate. The gate is decorated with large green draperies. The green of better days. The neighbor, who is old, remembers the past. The past was maybe not a better, but for him a greener place. He says on the lawns, behind the backyard, where we stand, his mother told him, have been wild tulips growing around 1900. That’s been a while, say I. He only remembers sweet violets standing there, I only know sweet violets from the poems of Hans Christian Andersen, translated by Adelbert von Chamisso and still hear a light, green melody from Robert Schumann in my ear, but the lawn where once sweet violets stood, is not a lawn anymore, but a place where young families live in new-built houses. Only one roof is colored green.