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essays | places


attuned to the sea


Domburg, Zeeland / Netherlands · 2017   what the ebb betrayed


   I have always been attuned to the severity of northern beaches. The tense blue-black darkness of the Atlantic skin must be an answer to something. When the high tide pulls it over the amber shores until they yield into the shrubby foredunes, the beachgrass camping out there looks all perplexed, but trust me, it is in on it. And it knows this too: none of these tropical flirts with their aquamarine tongues, licking vanilla beaches all day long and fooling around with clown corals in the shallows, can convey the consequential and uncontrollable feeling of being an ocean. Rough and tremendous, the northern ocean frontier is infinitely more final and does not waste a single molecule on kindness or trifles.

The brick-towns behind the dams are much warmer and more sociable and look at you with googly bay windows. On rainy days they look like they are napping. I have seen them with the eyes of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, and never once have they led on a change of mood.

My first boyish memory of Amsterdam seems inevitable: my parents, in their goofy innocence and touristy greenness, had led my sister and me straight into the infamous red-light district where a rainbow-variety of women in very honest lingerie sat in shop windows to cure my sprawling imagination with naked realities. I was just old enough to understand the meaning of this and of the accelerated steps and silences that guided us around the nearest corner. Many years later I passed by there again, again accidentally, and I have to cut my parents some slack: sitting in the absolute, innermost atomic core of the city, you can only miss it by keen design.


a glimpse

passages  ROW | A partaking in society tightly outlined by conformity. A repetitive pattern. A falling in line. A look down that road reveals what’s in store down the line. A perpetual tomorrow. The same box with the outlook. Rowing hard, day in, day out, wash, rinse, repeat. Unfortunately, caught in your own freedom, there is nobody to rebel against but yourself. And rebellion is departure. And rebellion hurts. And the price is high and the prize uncertain. I heard the comfort zone is safe and snuggly. I might just stay in. But tomorrow, yes tomorrow…

Motion turned them into ghosts by the hundreds.


Amsterdam / Netherlands · 2017   red light night



Koudekerke, Zeeland / Netherlands · 2017   Sophy






places / stories

Amsterdam / Caught Alone in-between Two Years

Amsterdam / Netherlands · 2017   lanky homes

Caught alone in-between two years, the New Year’s crowds washed over me while I stood anchored to my tripod for as long as the aperture would gawk openmouthedly at the scene ahead. It was then, in that dramatic moment when the old year died in childbirth and the baby year cried with rocket-thunder that absolutely nothing happened in the universe at large. Just one more turn completed somewhere, 365 days of dancing around some sun that wasn’t there for the party. But down here, everything was as old as it was new in that one unblemished instant before the young year started composting the old.


Amsterdam / Netherlands · 2017   a blue night pricked by yellow beams


Amsterdam / Netherlands · 2017   to dwell by the canal





Amsterdam caught a weak start into the night, riddled with clouds and rains, but rose to the occasion before midnight’s zenith and proved to be a loud, euphoric theater, full of spectacular little collisions worthy of all the champagne or at the very least all the Amstel. An hour later I was at the airport to divide this day into two sub-days with the sequel set in Poland.


Amsterdam / Netherlands · 2017   blowing up another year






Zeeland / Time Isn’t Coming Back

Veere, Zeeland / Netherlands · 2017   brick town

Running my senses over these landscapes to measure them vaguely against my memories, satisfaction settled where the eloquence of my recollections and the refined feelings in tow had set me up for disappoint, disenchantment, and disillusion. Time had left everything in its right place when it moved on, and it didn’t look like it would be back anytime soon to make amendments. The wooden breakwaters – descending into the tide in undefeated twin lines – still wore the same ambivalent, tattered coat, crusted with seashells and slick with seaweed; the musty Atlantic fragrance lingered; the sea buckthorns were still twitching to the tickle of their turbulent and merry berries; the brick still had that same orange glow as though it had left the kiln just moments ago; and even the bitter winds had not moved past our old arguments and I was still perfectly annoyed with them too. The forests welcomed me back readily with their boughs wide open and, as always, they rolled out a sandy carpet they had borrowed from the dunes next door. I liked them much better than their depressed hinterland cousins. Coming in from the other side of life with adulthood’s monocle-prism tightly fastened to my eye’s orbit, and seeing all unchanged, betrayed the palindromic nature of this little place by the little sea.


Domburg, Zeeland / Netherlands · 2017   battered breakwaters

Domburg, Zeeland / Netherlands · 2017   shrubby dunes


Veere, Zeeland / Netherlands · 2017   goth


Koudekerke, Zeeland / Netherlands · 2017   lingering room




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