Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Return of the native, maybe??

Returned to my homeland on 3 December. Stunned by the cold (about zero degrees at night...) but delighted by the colours ... Rich deep greens are the fields that stretch in geometric shapes, resting now for the winter. The many small lakes are bearded by tall reeds and bullrushes, faded by the summer sun into pale beige and tawny shoots, that wave softly in the ever-present winds. In Amsterdam the water of the canals is ruffled, scattered with a few brave crested grebes and a desolate swan. The streets are full of people, endlessly fascinating. I watch, I listen.Takes time to get my Dutch fluent again ... words keep popping up in Italian. The great thing about my peripatetic life is that again and again my eyes see things freshly: sights that otherwise would have grown everyday and stale become newborn after a year's travel. My friends (who have stayed in the Netherlands or nearby all these years) ask me if I like this wandering life. And I reply that I would never have missed it. Of course, I have my complaints about living month after month on the boat (much as I have grown to love her) ... aspects that on the one hand I appreciate, because they keep me fit and alert (like climbing on and off Stroemhella, even onto a bouncing pontoon!) but that after many weeks, I am happy to relinquish! So back on land and able to sleep on a fine firm bed that I can get into without too much wurmling and wriggling, I do enjoy the benefits of four walls and a solid floor. Though, of course, John Masefield's poem Sea Fever (which I learned when I was nine years old, in Canada, after crossing the Atlantic from Southampton in a Cunard Liner, to Quebec) continues to sing inside my head. I must go down to the sea again / To the lonely sea and the sky because that's exactly it: the huge space, the light from sky and water, the quiet sounds so different from city noises... Right now, my head is so full of sea memories and seascapes, though happily I have made thousands of photos over these past years. I guess it's time to do some sorting out and setting into order...
A month in Amsterdam before setting off for the Far East, to visit Judy and family in Brunei. So digging into the history of Borneo, Sarawak and recalling past studies of Indonesia.
So vast the world (so huge the sea) so limited the time.

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