Just like the last time, the first snow of this winter arrived a bit early in Amsterdam, albeit subtly. I stepped out with my trusty camera to take some pictures and managed to drag along a good friend into this arctic expedition of our neighbourhood of Ijburg.
It was a foggy morning and it was cold. As we passed by a lonely and warded off pier, I took a moment to stop and admire the feeling of infinity the veil of fog created.
The shrubs that usually blended into the surroundings, stood out spectacularly against the white(ish) backdrop.
The still water became one with the sky for the border was a grey area (wink wink)
Trees stood solemnly and in solitude, against the sulky feels. We braved the sentinels and marched further.
After the supposed short walk ended more than two hours later, we stopped by a cafe to warm ourselves with some coffee.
A sudden change in weather prompted that we take advantage of it. After biking for some time, a good friend and I ended up at a typical Dutch backyard beach, where we took to contemplation when presented with a sight of the evening blues and winter hues.
Am often keen on doing things I have never done before. Sailing was one of them, which I jumped onto when an amazing colleague offered a spot on a sailboat he was borrowing for a day. We set sail from Monnickendam on a chilly weekend morning.
The feeling of cutting through water, wind and the elements in an non-motor-powered craft; through the waves up and down; rocking in the ripples emanating in the wake of other boats; the feeling of danger yet with calming knowledge of fact that the boat cannot topple; sounds of silence interspersed with hubbub of water splashing against wind and itself; was oddly relaxing, meditative while being thoroughly exhausting.
I was feeling adventurous, so I carried my drone, which in hindsight, could have benefitted from preparation of a flight plan. The take-off was easy, but the landing was fraught with difficulty, leaving us with some bruises as we barely recovered the machine. It brought back vivid memories of how I lost my previous drone
As we sailed, we took turns amongst us three, handling various duties onboard such as: enjoying the sun, steering and enjoying the sun; punctured by an occasionally call for all-hands for a huddle to perform tacking or jibing manoeuvres with the sailboat.
The notion of using headwind to sail upwind often did not compute in my head. I spent significant amount of time staring at the geometries of the various connected components in contemplation. I was in awe of physics and the classical perspective, triumphing over my romantic worldview.
After a frustrating bout of boredom as we had no winds for a long time, we started up our underpowered motor to make a pit stop at Haven van Marken for lunch.
Wind as a form of fuel on a sailboat combined with calories expended in human effort resulted in momentum for the boat and contentedness for the soul, leading me to speculate an imbalanced situation for the laws of thermodynamics. I thought to myself “Take that, physics”, as we entered the haven towards the end of the day.
After being snow-deprived in the past few years, except for that one time in some January, the first snow came in early this winter. While I thought I was going to miss the first snow in Amsterdam, little did I realise that a much grander treat would await me when I reached this little town called Enschede.
The views out of my friend’s window, the UvT campus overlaid in a carpet of trees and wooded parks, were fast filling up with snow. The smell of hot Indian food and Chai started filling up the tiny living room. It made us ecstatic and filled the air with this unexplainable feeling of joy and cheerfulness. Suffice to say; I had to, in anticipation of a hot brew, step out in the blistering cold to make some pictures.
Tea is another word for it, commonly used in the western world. To most, it is a hot beverage. I amongst many would describe it as a feeling. It never ceases to make everything – the look, the feel and the passage of time – ethereal. It shifts the state of life from the monotony of cell-phone and the instant messaging riddled world to that of just being – still and present.
On a rainy Sunday morning, my friend made some chai for us. We were all sitting by the window, sipping chai, watching the world go by. It was a surreal feeling.