A photo a day, 2015 – week 25

18) Kroost

18) Kroost

Friday

Just another Friday. But a Friday drenched in emotion & paralyzing disbelieve.

Yesterday, as I was putting this post together, the world was trembling. A wave of violence swept from north to south, east to west, leaving this world in a bigger mess than the morning had found it in. Bombs exploding, chaos in the streets, questions flying everywhere. So much hate, so much separation & so little compassion. News of casualties came sliding into my news-feed, an avalanche of sadness covering my desk & mind within a matter of minutes.

Often, when I think it can’t get any worse, it gets worse. Just when I feel we’ve seen it all, they show us more. At times my soul cringes & I wonder how I am supposed to hold on the gentleness of my mind. How to stay kind, to stay hopeful in the face of this hardening world. Must I lose my innocence? Must I become immune for suffering, for violence? But then what will become of my empathy? My compassion? My humanity?

I looked at the colourful & silly pictures I had just put together and wondered whether it was right to post a collection of such insignificant images on a day when every moment feels soaked with deeper meaning. All that I had done seemed suddenly futile, so out of place.

But is it not this silliness, this beauty & these seemly pointless little art-collections which keep me sane? These posts; the words, the pictures, they are the only stand I can take against the madness & the destruction all around. Every image I look at, everything I create, is a reminder of the beauty of this world. I think I believe that the meaning of life is to be found in our day to day lives. And as long as we go on living those lives, we take a stand against those who want to scare us & who continue to undermine our freedom. As long as we go to work, we read our books, we watch the news, we raise our voice & write our letters. As long as we refuse to lose our kindness, our softness or our compassion, we are winning. And it’s not an easy task. But most of the time, it’s the best & all we can do. And I believe, if we do it best we can, we will continue to be the very best versions of ourselves…

Friday, just another Friday. But a Friday on which colourful flags were proudly raised, as people celebrated in the streets. A Friday on which other flags were lowered in a wordless attempt to right all the wrong that was once done. ‘Amazing Grace’ was sang by a group of mournful voices; its soothing notes stretching out into the sky, finding their way to the shores of faraway countries were nameless people died under the same heavens. A Friday on which people went for dinner, watched their favorite movies, cooked their favorite meals. A Friday on which educated minds bend down over reports & recommendations, written by educated people, trying to solve issues no one ever thought to educate us about. A Friday on which we triumphed and failed. We mourned and celebrated. We kissed, cuddles, laughed, cried, fell down & got back up again. A Friday on which we lived, loved, laughed, hoped & feared.

And a Friday on which I marveled over silly little words for silly little things; feeling silly and elated and sad and hopeful and frightened and happy all in one simple day. And I suddenly understood that that’s probably what life is like. Most every Friday & most every day…

 

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A photo a day, 2015 – week 24

11) Lanterfanten

11) Lanterfanten

Words

I love words. English words & Dutch words. I love finding funny, wonderful, beautiful & silly words, I love wondering about their origins and their synonyms. I browse through the soft pages of my beloved Longman Dictionary in search of meaning & explanation. I conclude that there are ten possible ways to translate some words & that there is no satisfying translation for others. And on my way to one word, I run into a dozen others that intrigue me just as much.

So many words. So many different ways to express what we feel, words to describe what we see & even words to explain what we hear. Surrounded by words, which we string together to form sentences in the hope we will get our messages across. Empty our minds & fill our notebooks, trying to find that particular word which will explain it all. That single word or that collection of words which will help us understand the meaning of love, hate & everything in between. Words which will enable us to capture life as it lives in our heart & mind. A way to put into words the very silence within our vulnerable soul.

I’ve spend my life loving words, understanding the strength they can bring, the power they hold & the damage they might do. I could keep at this photo theme for the rest of the year & even the year to come. Melting together words & pictures until they form a harmonious whole.
Do you love words too? And which words do you love more than others? Is it a funny word? Is it old fashioned or hyper modern? Does it remind you of something or someone you love or is it simply the sound of the word that you can’t get enough of? The letter combination? The pronunciation?
If you tell me before Wednesday, maybe I could try to include one of your favourite words in next week’s update. I would like that:)

Dear all, thanks for bearing with me during my little absence. I think me & my mind are back on track again after a wobbly week of worrying & weeping. So, hopefully, I’ll see you all again towards the end of this week for another June update. Take care….

A photo a day, 2015 – week 23

4) Aarzelen

4) Aarzelen

This blog is late. Very late. In fact I think I haven’t been this behind with updating since the start of this year. I wish I could tell you why it happened. Wish I could explain about all the zillions things I did while not updating this blog. But truth is that I, for some reason, did very little & I don’t even remember what I was doing on those Wednesdays I usually spend updating this blog. Time simply got away with me. That’s it.

June has been an unusual month so far, marked by heart-warming & slightly unexpected reunions. My brother came home & so did my sister. And, as reunions tend to do, this brought about a whole range of wonderful emotions.  I was overjoyed to finally have the family together again. To finally be able catch up on life.
But this long overdue meeting also brought the realization that time moves quickly. That weeks, months & even years pass by faster than any of us seem to realize. And we hardly seem to notice, until we are stopped in our tracks & look into the faces of those who grew up beside us. And then suddenly it is undeniable. Because the little boy, who was your brother & the small girl, who was once your sister; they have all grown into the adults beside you. Still your brother, still your sister, still the same, yet so different.

I look at the people who were there all through my life; those individuals, my siblings, who now live their own adult lives, who meet new people, who create memories I will never be a part of. Those brave souls who are venturing out into the world, leaving me behind with a head full of moments & a heart full of love.
‘Where have the years gone?’ I ask myself. ‘And what have I done with them’, I wonder, suddenly feeling older than I really am. What do I have to show for it all? I look time in its watchful eyes & try to decide whether to be proud or disappointed. What have I been doing while they grew up to be people with jobs, husbands, wives, dreams on the brink of coming true? Who on earth am I in this circle of beautiful, capable people?

As you might have read between the lines by now, I have been a bit of an emotional train wreck in these last few weeks & even something as simple as combining words to pictures seemed an impossible task somehow. My inner-critic was more than happy to take the lead & left my humble self confidence in ruins. And so, for a moment, I stopped believing in the pictures I make, the words I write & the project I trying to finish. Everything I made suddenly seemed unimportant, imperfect & silly even. And I wondered why I should bother at all. I suppose I just stopped believing in myself all together. For a while.

But then one of those incredible, beautiful & extraordinary siblings of mine, stepped in. Embraced me with arms full of familiar warmth & unconditional love. Embraced me so long, so patiently & so completely that she put me right back together again. Embraced me & scared off that silly inner critic of mine, creating space for hopefulness to flood back in.

This blog is late. Very late. Like I am. And have been. Most of my life. Late to the game, I suppose. Late, but I always keep on going…

 

If you liked the pictures above, you’ll be happy to know that tomorrow I’ll be updating week 24! See you then….

A photo a day, 2015 – Week 22

28) The Pretty duckling

28) The Pretty duckling

May/June

While wrapping up May, I stop to realize how fast times has gone by & I wonder where all the hours went. What did you do in this courageous spring month?
For me, I guess I’ve been spending my days waiting for warmer weather, while battling snails & lice in our poor kitchen garden. I’ve dragged myself to the dentist, I discovered new places to hike & rediscovered ‘old’ hobbies to love. I fell in love with pretty quotes & artistic lettering; sharpening my pencils & testing my resolve. I went to the library, I got targeted by an enthusiastic fundraiser & then obliterated by my guilty conscience. I eat home-grown strawberries, I tried new things in the kitchen, I tasted honey that I liked & drank carrot juice for the first time in my life. I bought & received gifts, I watched & re-watched my favourite series, got side-tracked by old songs & ended up spending too much time discovering new songs. And every day of this cloudy, yet lovely month, I peeked through the lens of my camera, searching for the best moment to capture all the wildlife around me. It was harder than I initially thought; birds flying off, deer too far out of sight & most animals simply not anywhere in sight. But as usual, it all worked out & it’s time to start thinking about a new theme. And what a theme it’ll be…

‘Wonderbaarlijke Woorden/wonderful words’

This month’s theme will not only be focussing on pictures, it will also showcase some of the wonderful words the Dutch language has to offer. I’m bilingual & I love both the Dutch & the English language with all my heart. At times I think English has my preference; I write, read & often even think in English. For a brief moment I even made the mistake to think that English is the only language in which I can truly express myself. But then I considered all the poems I wrote ever since I was a child; poems now collected in two books I may call my own. I browsed through the beautiful Dutch words holding my feelings together like a string may hold a bead & I knew instantly that I simply need more than one language to make sense of this complex world. More than one dictionary to clarify all the thoughts & feeling living inside of me.
In June, I will share with you some of the loveliest, funniest & most beautiful words the Dutch language has to offer, accompanied by a suitable picture & an English explanation. I will try to stay clear of words which originated from the English language, so that all of you may learn some truly new words to express yourselves.

I hope you will all like this challenging new theme & that it may inspire you to fall in love with the beauty of language, like I do time & time again. See you next week!