Saturday, December 19, 2015

Flowing Through December Amsterdam:

If 10 years ago, someone would have told me that I'd soon be living in Amsterdam, and that, after living there for some time, I'd be spending most of my time in the Netherlands' museums, and their research libraries, studying painters and their paintings throughout time–I'd be puzzled. Who knew the history of collecting just might be my thing. The Frick Collection's reference library's publications propelled this. Maybe I entertained the idea, but again considered San Francisco was still indeed calling my name; so why jump off course? Amsterdam has since offered up much to me; there for the taking, though the reaching out, to enable that taking, can be quite difficult in this city. Amsterdam is a rough city; its cyclists are silently fierce, its streets either a labyrinth or a fairytale dependent on mood, and it is chaotic at the least. It temporarily welcomes with its dance, a waltz, swing, step, and flow that swirls within it; it is the language of cars, pedestrians, and cyclists combined with buses, and trams. The key to this dazzling inter-urban dance, is the city's pedestrian, who must float across road crossings and cyclist paths, never jarring in movement in order to steady oncoming cyclists, cars, and scooters. Hyper-awareness is one way to characterize Amsterdam; everyone’s all up in one another’s lives, secretly, from across the street and from behind the safety of their window. Most residents are able to retell precisely the undertakings most seen from all visible windows into other people’s houses, from their own. This same sensitivity, also occurs in public, on the street. When cycling through this flow of traffic in the inter-city, near to the Amstel, or even Rokin; nothing compares to soaring across Dam Square late at night, approaching the Palace from east, speeding westward under its gaze. Only when this flow is broken by a tourist, a new resident, the unexpected–does its dancing stop. Amsterdam is a city in motion; of dazzling sunlight; of flow–a city dancing with itself.