Monday, May 22, 2006

A week in the Netherlands was not quite enough time to see what I wanted to see. We arrived in Rotterdam and our daughter showed us some things about the trams and the little cute cars and we ate at a Mexican place with all the menus in Dutch. One thing that comes to mind when thinking of Rotterdam is the way people get around on trams so much when they aren't using bikes. Every ten minutes a little yellow train pulls up and you hop on, just like in Meet Me In St. Louis. Somehow we got into a two meal pattern with a nice coffee and fruit kind of breakfast followed by running around the trams, boats and trains to get to a quiet place like Keukenhof to look at all the flowers in the world. Miles and miles of stripes of reds and yellows and blues and off in the distance, in the middle of the field would be a small schooner. Seems that instead of dirt roads going around a person's farm you had canals with all kinds of boats in them for moving from the little canals to the big canals until eventually, I guess, you're in the ocean.

The people all spoke American pretty well, at least enough to tell us we were on the wrong train, although that was after we missed our flight home. None of the trains had much graffiti on them and none of them had any inside the trains. The trams were the same way. I saw a lot of tags on the overpasses in the highways.... and I was almost surprised to see they had highways at all. Somehow I would expect bigger ships or something on bigger canals. These canals went everywhere and had smallish roadways either right next to them or with a grassy area between. This grassy area was often punctuated with statuary, even a Rodin or two just hanging out next to the canal. No graffiti on the statues either. The one thing that really grabs you after awhile in Rotterdam is the number of bikes. Not fancy new 12 speed bikes but old 1960's one speed fits all and no hand brakes kind of bike. Miles of bikes in parking lots. Miles of bikes along the road, chained to posts and signs. A lot of the bikes have busted wheels and rust on them, abandoned long ago by an owner who figures $30 a bike beats fixing a busted wheel. People steal parts off abandoned bikes, like pedals and sometimes wheels.

The museums were astounding, not just because they had so much fine art, but that there were so many of them around. In Albany, a much bigger city, you get one museum and sometimes on loan a Van Gogh. In Amsterdam you get an entire museum dedicated to that guy alone! Then one block over is one filled with Rembrandt and his peers, another dedicated to items like furniture and so forth. Just amazing amounts of art. The buildings everywhere have a sculpted face over every single window. The doorways are carved with vines and animals and faces, and the doors themselves often have stained glass or Art Deco moulding. I took over 1500 pictures in 5 days. I took shots of ducks, trees, buildings and building parts... just couldn't stop snapping pics. Then we got home, eventually, and I went up to the studio. Passing my flower beds I knew my efforts were just begining re the landscaping. At Keukenhof I saw what real masters can do with flowers. I want to advance at least to journeyman status. I need hundreds more bulbs.

In my studio at last I swept, vaccumed, stuffed, stacked and wiped until I have a space where work can really get cracking. Poor Persephone looks a bit upset being shoved off to one side, but until I can fire her I have to move her out of the way. Now I have to decide if I want to work on Buddha or Krishna. I'm also toying with Sudra. She would be ideal for the times. When they released her to fight the enemies of the gods they got more than they bargained for, just like we got more than we bargained for when we allowed the ultra-right wing bastards to take over the country. Death and chaos follow fools. Time to get to work, to allow this trip to flow thru my arms to my fingers and into the clay. Who will emerge from the mud is anybody's guess. Kind of exciting.

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