Friday, April 30, 2004
today is "koninginnedag" (queen's day) in the netherlands: flags flap enthusiastically everywhere, and city centres have been transformed into the biggest street-party-garage-sale-combinations imaginable.
i am at home, happy for the sun shining on the celebrations, but distracted.
my thoughts are on queens of a different kind, and on other birthdays etched deep and empty in a recent past.
i'll be fine tomorrow.
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Sunday, April 25, 2004
she holds a single pear - small, unyielding, unbearably heavy - in her hand, and finally comprehends the nature of the harvest.
her nurturing has been, after all, of little consequence. her care has failed in the face of fickle winds, and rain. her faith has been futile.
the remembered - and ephemeral - beauty of the blossoms will have to suffice.
Friday, April 23, 2004
we spotted them just as they spotted us; the sight of our cameras made their noses glow redder and brought them skipping and chattering our way. in excited gibberish they conferred, and in melodious gibberish they serenaded us, white gloves fluttering, as he and i clicked happily away.
they weren't the only clowns we encountered in the vondelpark that day - a nearby workshop had sent several couples out "into the field" - but they were definitely the most irresistible.
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
this is the picture i had planned for today, because an old friend - er, acquaintance - is celebrating his birthday, but i don't really have anything to say - except "congratulations", of course - that i didn't say last year.
instead, then, the lush day that yesterday was:
a visiting razzi, an unexpectedly benevolent weathergod, a glorious amsterdam spread at our feet. there's nothing like the warm sun to put smiles on people's faces, and there's nothing like the company of a charming belgian to put a smile on mine.
i photographed this same branch when rachel and i were savouring last friday: even four short days can make an impressive difference when nature gathers momentum.
spring has definitely, and thankfully, sprung.
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
"and forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair."
- kahlil gibran (1883 - 1931)
(he may need to take his hat off, though, for the full effect.)
*photographing people on the street - snoozers don't count - is something i don't do much of. he does, better than almost anyone i know, and he's heading up my way tomorrow. maybe i'll pick up some pointers; maybe i won't: it will be a treat to see him again anyway.
Saturday, April 17, 2004
the only shadows that crossed our paths yesterday were those of birds reeling in the spring sunshine and trains unable to run on time.
for the rest, rachel and i had a day filled with fineness:
the last vacant table on the steps of the beurscafé; the carnival taking shape on dam square; an exhibition of breitner's paintings - the capital at the turn of last century, all gables and windblown frocks and horse-drawn trams - in the amsterdam historical museum; flowers and fabrics and rubber duckies at the albert cuyp market; a glass of wine on a corner absolutely made for people-watching;
a delicious meal in the calm of a vegetarian restaurant; but above all, above all:
good company and good conversation, and feeling content to be no-one but oneself.
spring may actually be here, in more ways than one.
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
she glances sideways, and upward, through luminous lashes.
there, somewhere between what she sees and what she knows, is the truth:
in the cool non-committal curve of his cheek, in the stubborn set of his chin, in his apologetic eyes locked onto a landscape she will never wander.
Saturday, April 10, 2004
my daughter - when i gently burst the bunny-with-a-basket-story bubble - reacted in emotional disbelief, and i was as mystified as she was broken-hearted.
looking back, though, i suspect that her lovely little chocolate-loving soul absorbed my words and foresaw a dramatic end to its glorious yearly windfall: reason enough, when one is six and stuck in a sweet-toothless family, for tears, don't you think?
have a fine easter weekend, all.
Tuesday, April 6, 2004
Sunday, April 4, 2004
i blink. i sigh.
suddenly it is the fourth of the fourth of two-thousand-and-four, and i am startled.
was it not just yesterday that the neighbourhood's children greeted the new year with spirals of sparkling light?
am i the only astonished soul who feels months tumbling by like days, and weeks like hours?
*and, speaking of time flying: i have finally gotten round to reading jeffrey eugenides' "middlesex". i very nearly missed amsterdam central station altogether this morning; it had me that enthralled.
*and, speaking of FOUR: renée and alex have been together for that many years yesterday. may joy and inspiration be theirs for many, many more!