Sunday, May 30, 2004

hanging by a thread

this is how she feels, give or take a grimace and a tear.
she needs to take a step backward, or at least aside, to look beyond the countless insignificant holes in her happiness, and focus on the texture in-between, because that is what keeps the emptiness from taking over.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

the power of two

they settle, crooked and companionable, into the slope of the dike, unfolding, adjusting, balancing, and watching the endless water.
they have more yesterdays than they have tomorrows.
they have more certainties than they have doubts.
it has been a long, fine journey together, to this small remaining stretch of sea, and
they are determined to enjoy the view.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004


dreams are meant to be pursued and realized, and renee is following hers. she is on her way to prague; the long-anticipated adventure has begun.
it was of dreams and adventure and anticipation that we spoke - a few months back, though it seems like yesterday - sitting in café papeneiland until everyone but the accordionist had disappeared into the cold february night.
she's in my thoughts. i wish her - and hers - the best of luck, and as much happiness
as they can possibly embrace.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

decisions, decisions

when sam asked me to contribute a guest-photo to daily dose of imagery (i'm a "local" too, you see, but i've strayed) during his trip home to iran, i was numbed by indecision. i am notoriously uncertain at the best of times, and i made life for my family, and my colleagues, and for rachel, quite tedious indeed: "this one? maybe this one? or, no, no..."
i sent him TWO: the one that's up now, and this one. i saw them both as characteristically amsterdam. the warehouse, modest and stately, soars (this is a TALL building for the city centre), and that rainbow flag says "acceptance" to me; the teabag-on-a-bicycle is whimsical and a bit weird...and two-wheeled, which is also typical in its own way.
sam - i hope his holidays are very happy! - picked.
i am quite simply honoured to be in the company i'm in.

and, over at la*laland: green flowers at the albert cuyp market.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

headed heavenward

"it's a sure sign of summer if the chair gets up when you do."
- walter winchell (1897 - 1972)

today is the first day of the ascension day long weekend here (for most people, but, alas, not for me) and pleasant weather has been predicted. hopefully everyone will find time to tilt his face toward the sun and simply savour.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

the eye of the beholder

in my favourite newspaper, "het parool", a centrefold article last saturday focussed on what it considered to be the 25 "ugliest buildings in amsterdam".
many of the choices: well, yes.
but the nemo? the nemo? it's a bit eccentric, granted, but its green sweep upward from the river is stunning, and unique.
well, then: MY office building? i felt - to be honest - slightly affronted. it may not be architecturally climactic, but it spans the space between rails and river in an unassuming, uncluttered way, and those mirrored surfaces do their very best to echo the skies and the water. on a rainy day, it glistens grey; on a bright one, it glows soft and sunny.
i am, i suppose, begging to differ.
but these are matters of taste, and i'm allowed.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

please mr. postman

the dutch are a tolerant people. confront them with all manner of "alternative" behaviour and they will say: "whyever not?"
(i do not always agree with this philosophy, i must confess. i mutter, for instance, on the early-morning train, sleepy, mellow, and seated next to an idiot with his walkman at guaranteed-deafness-level: "whyEVER?")
but do not slide unsolicited advertising into their mailboxes: it is unacceptable, and they will not be pleased.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

yesterday and years ago

time has rounded the angry edges, and soothed their reluctant reunion with a gentler, more indulgent light.
in this place, this familiar place - a table, two glasses and a few flown and fraught years between them - they discover that they can listen after all: that, despite differences honest and deep, they can actually hear each other's words.

Sunday, May 9, 2004

mamma mia

it's (happy!) mothers' day today, and i suggested to my son - in jest, of course - that this might be a fitting acknowledgement of all the time and love and effort i've put into helping him become the young adult he is: "MOM ANGEL" scrawled splendidly across his jeans.
needless to say, he didn't rush off in search of a pen.

Friday, May 7, 2004

your wish is my command

anyone who uses the phrase 'easy as taking candy from a baby' has never tried taking candy from a baby."
- unknown

as i stood waiting for an errant cloud to soften the shadows in the doorway, a young woman emerged from the building and introduced herself.
"i'm the artist," she said with visible pride. we shook hands; she unlocked her bicycle and headed off towards the amstel.
only when she was almost out of sight, and i read beyond the glitter, did i wish that i had asked her what on earth it MEANT.

Monday, May 3, 2004

next door down

this place, these "low lands", should feel - to a canadian like me - cramped and claustrophobic, but i am accustomed after all these years, and see it this way:
where else can you wake up in the morning, hop on a train, have lunch with a friend in another country, stroll streets where the architecture and the atmosphere and even the cobblestones are distinctly "foreign", sample sidewalk cafés and art galleries, share a slightly surrealistic meal, and then be back home in your own bed before midnight?