Saturday, July 31, 2010

self-portrait with left wing

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honestly, does it look like these wings could fly me anywhere? and yet... there is a strength gathering there, a tremor too. a barely perceptible stirring, a stretching.

who knows? stranger things have happened...

haircut

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after three years minus one month of roaming the earth, my Samson finally met his Delilah. she was lurking in the haagsche bos, of all places, with her scissors ever at the ready. it was a shock, there is no denying that. and for a while there, i thought he did look like those french prisoners, all the way back in 1789, getting ready for their last cart trip. but having slept on it, literally and metaphorically, i have to admit it's much better. lighter. freeer.

(and that pretty much summarizes my inner process these days. the guillotine is lurking, ever-present, right at the end of that light-less tunnel i periodically fall into. and that makes the moments outside the tunnel feel so precious. so light. so free.)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

on the joys of procrastination

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... or what happens when you don't garden in your garden. the weeds turn into flowers, the dill forgets to make leaves, the gherkins stubbornly proceed on their way to maturation, and the only real pregnant question remains: what to do with huge courgettes?

Monday, July 19, 2010

korablik

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just imagine: this little orange plastic boat, with the big heavy water-loaded rope like a noose around its neck. and all its life, the little boat has been bearing the rope, because at the end of the rope is the anchor, and the anchor is holding the boat down, keeping it safe. and then one day, it turns out there is no anchor. there is just rope, heavy water-loaded rope, like a noose around the neck, attached to absolutely nothing. the boat has been floating freely all along.

i am struggling with this: freedom, safety, anchoring... and the many heavy water-loaded ropes hanging in my wake... struggling and frightened, but still afloat. heavily loaded, but also free.

(the title of this post comes from this old old song, sung by a grand blind lady, about a cheerful little boat that first spent sometime building itself from scratch, and then went on to sail the world, being its own boatman and its own captain.)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

ode to the amsterdamse bos

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where we did not go today. and even though we went yesterday, and the day before, and the day before, and the day before, and the day before, and i can't remember the day before that, but the odds are... and even though we are going tomorrow, and maybe the day after, and most certainly the day after, and the day after... despite, or perhaps because of this, today i find myself passionately missing the amsterdamse bos, which i might never have found if it wasn't for... and i might never have returned to if it wasn't for... and where the spirit of summer resides permanently, and all is welcome as it is, and the air is sweeter, and the water softer, and the birds more familiar, and the grass greener (really), and the breeze gentler, and the sun brighter, and the shade more appeasing, and the trees more grounded, and the flowers more beautiful, and the soul more peaceful, and time in less of a hurry, than in any other place i know. and so i sit here, and sift through 1000 remarkably similar photographs, looking for those bits that i am missing most, at the risk of falling into repetition. and maybe this is madness, and maybe it is love, and maybe it is simply summer, i don't know. but i do know where i will be tomorrow...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

sensation

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Par les soirs bleus d'été, j'irai dans les sentiers,
picoté par les blés, fouler l'herbe menue:
Réveur, j'en sentirai la fraîcheur à mes pieds.
Je laisserai le vent baigner ma tête nue.

Je ne parlerai pas, je ne penserai rien:
Mais l'amour infïni me montera dans l'âme,
et j'ïrai loin, bien loin, comme un bohémien,
par la Nature, -- heureux comme avec une femme.
Arthur Rimbaud

Thursday, July 08, 2010

lost in thought

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it is becoming increasingly obvious from the nightly harvest of my trigger-happy mate's camera that there is something on my mind. in almost every photograph, i look either pensive or preoccupied. i wanted to share, but couldn't find the words (yet), so i decided to use those of a master. tried my best with the translation. there is another one here. and then there is the irreplaceable original.


The non-proposal

my love, let's not, for mercy’s sake,
point at Cupid’s throat
his own arrow
so many lovers have tried it
who have had to pay with their happiness
for this sacrilege…

i have the honour
of not asking for your hand in marriage
let us not inscribe
our names at the bottom
of some parchment

let’s leave the bird a free hand
we will both of us be prisoners
on parole
the devil take the mistress chefs
who pin hearts to the handles
of pots and pans

i have the honour
of not asking for your hand in marriage
let us not inscribe
our names at the bottom
of some parchment

Venus often grows old
she loses her bearings
when faced with a dripping pan
at no price would i ever wish
to throw the petals of daisies
into the stew

i have the honour
of not asking for your hand in marriage
let us not inscribe
our names at the bottom
of some parchment

it might perhaps seem restful
to put away
at the bottom of a jam pot
the pretty forbidden apple
but it is cooked, and it has lost
its freshly-picked taste

i have the honour
of not asking for your hand in marriage
let us not inscribe
our names at the bottom
of some parchment

you can kill much of their charm
by revealing too far the secrets
of Melusine
the ink of love letters fades fast
between the pages of cooking books

i have the honour
of not asking for your hand in marriage
let us not inscribe
our names at the bottom
of some parchment

i don't need a servant
and i release you from
housekeeping and its cares
so that, eternal fiancee,
of you, lady of my choice,
always, i will think.

i have the honour
of not asking for your hand in marriage
let us not inscribe
our names at the bottom
of some parchment

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

meanwhile...

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... Toini is having adventures down by the riverside. and as everyone knows, adventures always involve sticks and stones...

(what is that you say? you think he should have a soundtrack too? all right then, but only because you insisted...)

à bicyclette

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this is how Isabelle is spending her summer. flying on her steed through woods and fields. and that requires a soundtrack, don't you think?

Sunday, July 04, 2010

another secret

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... and then you find out that if you go back, back into those woods, and you do bring your camera this time, and enough food and courage, and you walk past the bears, the wolves and the witches, and then walk on, right past that place where the heart split open (twice) and the dead mole is starting to smell, and you keep walking, deeper and deeper, still with your heart in one hand, and your wisdom in the other... you will eventually come to another little lake, possibly filled with your own, unshed, tears.

and if you sit there, by the waterside, for a while, with your feet dangling in the water, listening to the water birds cry, and reaching in spirit across the seemingly impossible distance, all the way to the other shore, where there is a big friendly tree, and high grass, and a gentle muddy beach. and you slowly gather your courage... and maybe procrastinate just a little longer... and then you jump in, quickly, before you can change your mind. and you start swimming, even though it's cold and scary, and even though you think you can't swim, and even though there is that terrible spot, right in the middle, where going back is no longer an option, and going forward seems impossible, and where terror whispers that you will drown, but you slowly swim on anyway, all the way to the other side...

... then you will know that there is another sweet secret place (or is it the same one?). one that can never be lost. only found, time and again.

would you like me to take you there some time?... it just so happens i know the way...

(oh, what a lyrical, metaphorical, allegorical little creature i am... and this is my 700th post. happy 700 to me!)

drawing (in the) grass

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... with some help from my friend ('mama, ik kom even bij je liggen, en ik ga mijn handje op je rug leggen om de vliegen en de bijen van je af te houden...').
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Saturday, July 03, 2010

on living with an open heart

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just look at these peonies, opening, opening, opening, further and further, their hearts so open they are almost turned inside out... spreading their scent to the moon. don't they know it's an irreversible process? don't they know they won't be able to close down on time?

('we know, we know...', whisper the peonies, '... it's worth it anyway...')

Thursday, July 01, 2010

secret

there is a place so secret that no camera can photograph it, and so well-hidden that even if i was to tell you exactly where it is and how to get there, you wouldn't find it. it lies deep in the woods, beyond where the bears and the wolfs roam, beyond where the witches of old set their traps. the only way to get there is on the back of a magical bicycle. the only way out is on foot, one slow and steady step at a time, with your heart in one hand, and your wisdom in the other.

it lies at the bottom of a sun-drenched copse, just on the edge of the little lake. there are reeds there that whisper stories in the breeze, while baby ducks play hide-and-seek among their roots. there is clover in the grass, and swallows in the sky, and the scent all ponds have in summer, green, moist, rich and slippery. there are pockets of happiness, just waiting to burst open at the slightest touch. and a little grey mole, dead in the grass, one paw over his eyes. there are also now a few hairs off my head, the left-overs of a fennel bulb, and a small piece of my heart, which got caught on something, and broke off.

the unbearable joy of having found that place. the unbearable sadness of knowing i will never find it again.