A few selects from the camera— Paris

Here are some more images from the trip. Most of these are from the Saturday afternoon we were in Paris— my twelve miles of walking day. The sun came out in the afternoon and it felt like Spring, despite the chill on these black and whites.

By the time we exited La Perle (croques monsieurs and rosé) it was 55º F and a pretty magic afternoon of wandering. There are a slew of color images after the jump as well.Shakespeare & CompanyThe seine, ParisThe seine, ParisThe seine, ParisParis buildingsMore color photographs after the jump

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The candidates, loosely, in watercolor

Democratic Debate; Sanders and ClintonWatched the Democratic debate last night, live, on an actual television— while it was happening! (I usually watch next day on my computer machine.) Did a hasty little study of each candidate for fun, for levity.

To Brugge by way of Breda, Roosendaal, and Brussels

Bruges, Belgium
My train to Brussels was cancelled yesterday. I’d got to the station in Amsterdam early so I was able to get on the 10:55am re-route train, which was only meant to add 60 minutes to the trip. But four cities / trains later when I landed in Brugge, it was 4:30pm.

So not much daylight there. I can’t say I was that disappointed, though. Wandering around the old town and canals, all the shops were in process of closing up and very few people around, which was nice. It’s pretty sleepy anyway, as it’s February.

Bruges, Belgium
The situation and scale of the canals there remind me simultaneously of Berlin, Paris and a little A’dam. A very beautiful little city.
Bruges, Belgium
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Images from A’Dam

Elandsgracht entryway

Here’s a drawing from two days ago; I was sitting at a cafe on Elandsgracht before meeting Tineke at Antiekcentrum.

Yesterday involved lots of cycling— around the Northwest part of town; through and around the Westerpark; and all around the new industrial / office area, Houthavens. Really interesting. It was a day of dramatic skies and Wind Tegen— that’s the Dutch term for when the wind is in your face no matter which way you’re cycling! (Wind Mee is when the wind is at your back, sailing you along.)

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Cycling around Houthavens

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Bridge to Prinseneisland
Bridge to Prinseneisland

Everywhere all the time and just below the surface

Not enough words for magic.

It’s an inept word, harassed, hackneyed, and brought low as it’s been given too great a spectrum of meanings to cover. Like design by committee, it’s watered-down to the point of meaninglessness.

The word magic is a sort of default that could also mean mystery, happenstance, luck, coincidence, intuition, flow, and on and on. None suffice. They are all ordinary, overworked words aimed at describing concepts or incidents unconsidered in polite or practical society. Things dismissed or relegated to the dead-end aisles of crazy, woo woo, or (the worst) New Age.

But a kind of day-to-day magic does exist, for lack of a broader lexicon, and this is the prompt for our writing this week. Very nice timing for me, as I’m traveling and magic can be rampant during travel, provided one is open to it. It can be rampant all the time, providing same. It’s sort of a skill and a language. Cannot be taught, only stumbled upon or maybe found, but it’s akin to muscle memory; to all memory. It connects with other things I’ve been writing about in recent months; what’s just outside conscious thinking; visceral.

This evening a friend and i had lengthy conversations on this and related topics; a conversation we began in May when she was in Brooklyn. She’s also fluent (more recently, but sort of all-at-once). A lot of people aren’t, or they are but don’t recognize it. I think the linguistic sinkhole around it is partly to blame— because it’s a cultural sinkhole. Language arises from culture, is shaped by its needs and the beliefs that underpin it.

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