This is the Posthoornkerk Church not far from the hotel I stayed at Amsterdam. In fact I took this out the window of the room. It was a cloudy day, perfect for photography, and just as I returned to my room I noticed the light streaming down along the horizon. However the way the hotel was designed there were two walls of glass between me and the outside. Nevertheless the image turned out without any reflections.
When I wasn't out walking around I'd stand by the window and watch the people ride bikes past on the street below. They'd ride at all hours of day and night. When I first arrived I was on eastern time and so was up quite late. Even at two and three in the morning people were riding bikes to get around.
This church is just a five minute walk. I didn't manage to get in, each time I tried it was it booked for some event. The last time I tried it was a film crew setting up for a production. The time before that I think there was a wedding. Its a busy place, at least when I was here.
Next to the church I sat in a little cafe in the morning with a cappuccino as I watched the activity on the street. I then walked next door to the chocolate shop to get gifts to bring home. Across the street was a cheese shop and then meats across from that.
My impression of the neighborhood is of a little village within a big city. I think that's true for many sections of the city.
This is a random shot I made in Amsterdam while walking around in the rain. It got me thinking about some general differences between the European and North American people.
In northern climates there's no avoiding the rain. What strikes me is the commitment of europeans to using bikes. It's one thing to ride a bike on a sunny day, but cold and rainy weather is another thing. I'd rather not ride in the rain, in North America its too dangerous and we don't have many bike lanes.
Not so here in Amsterdam; there are as many bike lanes as roads and people are committed to this as a primary mode of transport, even in the cold and rain.
While I was walking around in near freezing weather I wore mittens and a scarf, yet I saw people riding without gloves and sometimes more than a little skin exposed. So using bikes here is a commitment beyond just fair weather riding. That's not something that even occurred to me until I saw it for myself.
I suppose that because so many europeans use bikes, riding in the cold is normal. I think we North Americans can learn from that. It's not so bad when if we just get on board with the idea.
The other thing that struck me was that folks here are in good shape. They're burning calories not only from riding but by staying warm. Of course our bodies use energy just to maintain body heat when its cold.
Anyway, this is a long winded post about people and bikes. Not sure why I got off on such a tangent. I guess I was impressed by europeans and their preferred mode of transport. From that one little thing you can learn something about a people and their culture. I think we could use a dash of that here in North America. That's my 2 cents on the subject.
As the waves lap upon the shore and the stars circle the night sky, the Heron dreams. In dreams we inhabit the same landscape, perhaps.
We miss so much when we don't acknowledge nature. I have recently come to believe that the elemental spirits of nature, those we call animals, are so much more connected with the truth of life than we will ever know.
I am astonished at how much these beings revere us. We take it for granted, we always have. But if we stop and think, better yet, if we connect with them, we may learn something about them. We may even learn something about ourselves.
I am coming to realize that animals have so much to teach us. I think that in our current society we gloss over this to our own detriment. Perhaps it is just a temporary condition and in years to come we will correct this.
Perhaps one way to correct this is to make an attempt to respect and acknowledge the animals around us. They are all around, shouldn't we take notice? When you look into the eyes of an animal you will see a window to a soul or spirit that is just as viable a life as our own. More often than not see love looking back.
I think that by connecting with our animal friends we will unlock something in ourselves. All we have to do is notice. This is my simple tribute to the elemental life all around us.