Wednesday, March 31, 2004

time is a healer

he is, she realises wryly, rather like a flower: one that believes its brightness to be dependent on the sun, and then sees, surprised in the falling darkness - desolation unfolding into delight - a colour and a beauty all its own.
her secret fears were unfounded.
her glow, it seems, was not reflected glory after all.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

blowing out candles

this is a photo of a photo from a slide: dusty, discoloured and precious.
it was taken long ago, in the days when my son and i had only been acquainted for a matter of months but loved each other already with the unwavering certainty of destiny.
it's his birthday today.
i hope life fulfills him as constantly as it has me.

Friday, March 26, 2004

and stuck to all my senses

blueandwhitetn.jpg brightbasketstn.jpg tulpentn.jpg lacestn.jpg fabrictn.jpg

"the courage to imagine the otherwise is our greatest resource, adding colour and suspense to all our life."
daniel j. boorstin

i don't have a whole lot to say.
i work the whole weekend and my knee is misbehaving.
yesterday, though, i strolled the length of the albert cuyp market, and absorbed
enough brightness to last me well into next week.
(clicking enlarges, if you feel so inclined.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

this moment to arise

this blackbird is the loudest blackbird in the province of north-holland, perhaps in the entire country. he is my bane and my conscience and my alarm clock all feathered into one.
he sits in the eaves outside my open window and trills me into awareness, he sings me through my shower, and then perches patiently atop a tree, piping, until i flash my pass at the bus driver, and set off to the station.
after that, he flies off - duty done - into the quiet morning, where he can tuck his beak under his wing and sleep: he will need all his wits and energy to warble me awake at the break of tomorrow's dawn.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

with the punches

language can be capricious.
this sign, in latei, with the words "meerdere rollen beschikbaar" translates into english as "several rolls available". but in dutch it also means "several rĂ´les available".
and, reading it, i saw - did you ever doubt the power of my imagination? - a stage, vast, velvet draped sumptuous and scarlet. i saw wardrobe girls, nipping, tucking. i smelled greasepaint and roses. i imagined release, the step into another's skin, if only for a glorious moment: playing the diva today, soprano and sultry, and perhaps, bending to mood, the suffering heroine tomorrow.
and so you see.
this could have become a dramatic tale of great thespian accomplishment, of masks and maquillage, of tossed bouquets and curtain calls.
but it has become - because that single circumflexed "o" took sides - a simple story of wallpaper.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

sweet cantata

it was a balmy and beautiful day: weather for bare hands, and bare heads.

*rachel says it perfectly. weather MATTERS here. it's topic of conversation #1 with many.
topic of conversation #2 is the dutch railway system, but PLEASE don't get me started. i left work today at a quarter past five and got home at half past nine.
i am still winding down.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

with stories to tell

i ran into THIS old acquaintance today, in a small street in the jordaan, and thought - looking back on the distress of recent events - how true these three words are.
i met up with a new friend today, and we walked - literally - miles, and shared tea, lunch, conversation. we talked and we listened. we had our bread pinched. we nearly got run down six times.
a first encounter filled with ease and recognition is always a gift.
and, although amsterdam could have been a bit sunnier, the day could not possibly have been any brighter.

Monday, March 8, 2004

shining through

"i cannot pretend to be impartial about the colours. i rejoice with the brilliant ones, and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns."
winston churchill (1874 - 1965) english statesman, author

i quite like the poor browns, to be honest (and jesica, for instance, always sees the beauty in brown); but if this bauble hadn't been bright blue, i probably wouldn't have paused.
this - this being stopped in one's tracks even by minuteness - is the humbling power of hue.

Sunday, March 7, 2004

seeing, sawing

he is diminutive and diligent, and almost invisible, hidden high in the stately greenness just off leidseplein. each time i catch sight of him, i resist the urge to call out, to caution him: when the branch tumbles, he may tumble too.
this is "the little woodcutter", though, one of amsterdam's secret statues, and he pays no heed to passers-by.
he continues coolly, conscientiously, as the world strolls streetward. some may stop and exclaim at the sight of him; others may overlook his presence completely.
it is of no consequence; there is work - careful work, i hope - to be done.

Thursday, March 4, 2004


"look," i said to my husband, "i have this photo of the langestraat, with the city hall tower in the background, and i want to write something like 'i live in a cheese town. and it is very proud to be a cheese town, as you can see.'"
"what's cheese got to do with that picture then?" he asked.
"well, it's got to do with that big wheel of cheese in the street decorations," i responded. sigh.
he looked very doubtful. "but they won't notice that."
"they will, too. they're observant people. they'll see the connection".
i live in a cheese town. and it is very proud to be a cheese town, as you can see.
i TOLD him so.

Tuesday, March 2, 2004

goes without saying

he should know, because he knows her well, that she, receiving no reply, finding no one home, will circle the block endlessly, will ring, will knock, will call upward, again and again, watching the darkened windows for the slightest movement.
he should know, because he knows her well, that she is tender in her tenaciousness.
silence answers no questions.
and she has a patient and persistent soul.