Friday, September 18, 2009

Photo Friday - Plants

Photo Friday - Plants

Well, another Friday has rolled around. What a lovely day, eh? The weekend is coming and like every other week I get an e-mail inviting me to participate in Photo Friday.

The theme this week is "Plants". Hmm... I started to go through my Flickr account and found some quite reasonable possibilities, Bleeding Hearts, and even a quite seasonable Sunflower.

Why did I end up with this not so enchanting choice? Hmm. Possibly more because of the memory behind it.

July 2008 Snooker and Sweet No took off in the car for a driving vacation. First stop was Amsterdam and a k.d. Lang concert, then to the Alsace region of France for a visit to Strasbourg. After drinking in the wine groves we were to make our way to points unknown, perhaps in the Black Forest back in Germany or thereabouts.

But it was the short visit to Amsterdam which charmed my heart so. We did the normal touristy things of course, the cafes with their "special" brownies, the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House.

What had me completely beguiled was the feeling of the city itself. There might not be a way to describe it, other than to say it was .... unconstrained.

Crazy bicyclists are everywhere with what seems like no rules whatsoever. Alongside the bikes are scooters which are a free-for-all going wherever they please. And what few cars are allowed in the old town area have obviously made a deal with the devil to get a parking spot.

In the old town, the buildings are all situated close and tight, each one standing tall like a soldier protecting the canals. When I say tall, I am not thinking in mere height. The architecture doesn't really strike me as taller than Berlin buildings, they are simply much more tall than they are wide. Simply put, they are impossibly narrow. Each one of them are only about three small rooms wide maybe four flights high, with crazy-narrow staircases taking you always up, up, up. They all just look super cozy all huddled up together.

As I was having my fill of "space muffins", I could easily construct the illusion of the buildings standing alongside those canals with windows like eyes... watching, observing what was happening under them as the boats would drift peacefully by. No matter how my imagination would carry me, I never considered the buildings menacing as they loomed overhead. My thoughts assumed they would be looking down on the humans with loving, caring eyes which had seen much, but had never become indifferent or callous.

Amsterdam is a place I could live, and I don't say that about a lot of cities.

This picture was taken as we strolled along yet another bridge covering one of the canals. We noticed the flowers and stopped for a moment to enjoy the view. While holding hands we casually moved in closer together, supporting each other yet each standing on our own. After a few moments we wordlessly moved apart and continued on our way. Out came my always close at hand camera. Snap... and there you have it.

For most it is a OK picture of a canal, some trees, boats and of course the flowers. For me, it is a warm memory of a wonderful place shared with a very special person.

More pics of Amsterdam.

See more entries or participate yourself by visiting Photo Friday.


blueviolet said...

It's funny because the way you speak of the city as unconstrained is such a counterpoint to the calm, placid feeling of the photo.

Goofball said...

I can see your point but to live there it seems an impossible city to me to drive and find parking space in.

And somehow I have the prejudice that the Amsterdam "natives" are exactly what we don't like in the Dutch: loud, arrogant, ... That's probably a very biased idea though, although not totally biased either.

But the city...oh yeah, the city is fun

Snooker said...

@ Blueviolet - Good point, I didn't think about it that way. Also I didn't include any pictures of the buildings I was talking about. Oh well, shows you where my mind was... on that lovely moment only.

@ Goofball - Yes, I understand what you mean about the stereotypical Dutch. As much as I hate to admit it, there is almost always a grain of truth in every stereotype.

Maria said...

I did like the photo, but confess that I have a deep attachment to bleeding hearts. I grow them in my garden and I love their easy nature and beauty.

tommy said...

B-E-A-UTIFUL!!! That's a great pic...great memory as well :)

A Tired Wife said...

What a beautiful picture! I am SO heading overseas in the next two years .. three tops!