Kind of blue

Venus guided us all the way home after the Vienna trip.
The picture from the plane resembles a bit the picture I took at home a few days ago, with Jupiter and Venus in conjunction.

More blue lately:

Angry ocean

Floating. Mesmerizing

Dusk settles

Venus and Jupiter

Tonight, Venus and Jupiter are standing very close together in the sky. That is: they’re standing very, very far apart, but they appear to look close together to us.

In the sunset picture you can see them cosily in the top right corner, in between the greylag geese. Beautiful sunset today.

I also took a few pictures with the standard 500 mm lens, and was very surprised about the details. You actually see the little balls in the sky, and a few moons around Jupiter. Always makes me feel like that little boy, staring into the sky with a small telescope and dreaming of the stars…

Memory lane

Going back down memory lane. Huge flocks of pictures are quietly scratching my hard drive. It’s time set some of them free and let them fly out into the wide wild world. Starting with the Algarve, Portugal.

First one above is the lighthouse at Sagres. Suddenly you’re in an Old Testament scene. A goat herd walking home after sunset in  Vila do Bispo

Sunset at sea through a deserted customs building in Vila do Bispo

Sunset ´on the rocks´ near Atlantic ocean in Algarve, Portugal

Algarve beach in twilight after sunset

Same coast from a different point of view and way, way after sunset

Holiday shapes in white

Aphrodite´s mercy

After the hailstorm Aphrodite showed her kindness. When we drove back along the coast, right at the place where according to the legends she had come ashore so long ago, she surprised us with a stunning sunset. Aphrodite’s rock, near Paphos, is a mythical place. It is said that if you swim around the rock, you will find true love. I’m afraid I only read that the next day…

Aphrodite’s rage

Was she angry? For three days already we were on the island and still had not visited her temple to pay her tribute. This was after all her island. Kronos, leader of the Titans, had castrated his tyrannical father Uranus and thrown his thingy in the sea. Then the water had started to fizz and out of the foam arose Aphrodite, goddess of love, sexuality, fertility and beauty.

On the way to her sanctuary we stopped at the remnants of the ancient city Koúrion. We barely had time to see it. Dark clouds descended from the Olympus, and a hailstorm came upon us so fiercely that it damaged the front window of our car. With the last hailstones still drumming on the car, we drove directly towards the holy temple of the Aphrodite near Paphos. Immediately her mood improved, for the dark clouds drifted to the sea and soon even the sun showed itself again.

Thousands of years ago this place had attracted people from all over the world: the Mediterranean sea with all its islands and many countries in Europe, the Middle-East and Africa. People attended ceremonies and made offerings. The Roman historian Tacitus described the altar and a sacred stone: “Blood may not be shed upon the altar, but offering is made only with prayers and pure fire. The altar is never wet by any rain, although it is in the open air. The representation of the goddess is not in human form, but it is a circular mass that is broader at the base and rises like a turning-post to a small circumference at the top. The reason for this is obscure.”

This was the very stone.

Aphrodite was also depicted in her human form. For the goddess of love and fertility and sexuality, an offer could be to sacrifice the own body as in ancient times, making love was seen as a sacred act.

This idea has roots that go back more than 7.000 years ago, to the Sumerian cult of Inanna. In Cyprus the first settlements dated from 3.300 year before Christ. In that time the Phoenician goddess of Astarte was worshipped, also a goddess of sexuality, fertility and war. In the Greek period, Astarte became Aphrodite, and the city of Paphos was known throughout the world for it’s parties, wine and prostitutes. The stone at this sanctuary never became Venus, as the Roman Emperor Theodosius I outlawed all pagan religions in the year 391 and the sanctuary of Aphrodite fell into ruins.

Winds of change

Panta rhei. All is change. Somehow these words echoed around this week. Talking with a friend about the future of nature. Taking with elderly about getting old and seeing all that once was so familiar crumbling down. We tend to focus on what we lose during these changes, things we want to keep forever. But there is no forever.

At the age of seventeen, my friends and I went traveling by train for a month through Europe, all the way to Greece. So many precious memories! I still have a few pictures of us sleeping on the beach under the stars.

Last week we went out again, camping for the weekend at the island of Schiermonnikoog. Unfortunately on the way there we got into the worst traffic jam ever, due to a what can be described as no less than a small disaster in the regional power grid. Four hours delay – we missed our boat and we also missed the last boat of that night.

Great camping just under the green / white pole – a bit rocky though

No problem. Once again, we unrolled our sleeping bags (this time on the edge of a jetty) and slept under the stars.

The next day we took the first boat and laid down on the beach like forty-two years ago, under a clear blue sky. I felt 17 again – although swimming was a bit colder here.

The winds of change are blowing fiercely. Always. It might hurt sometimes, but there is and always will be beauty in the world. Like that stunning sunset that concluded our wonderful weekend. No Photoshop, no filters, no tricks. Just taken with the phone from the backseat of the car.

Scorching heat

Another heatwave this year. You would think we would get accustomed to them, but no. The land dries out. Great times however to enjoy a beach sunset.

I did a little streetphotography – the beach variety. Two passers-by were willing to pose against the setting sun.

Tropical paradise in the Atlantic climate.

It’s worth to wait until after sunset for the ‘blue hour’. So beautiful!

Oh yes, my phone complained as well that it was really hot this weekend!

Dichtbij en ver weg

Soms vind je vlak bij huis de meest exotische locaties. Vorige week was ik in het Belgische Oostende, dat me verwende met een paar prachtige zonsondergangen. Met het on-Nederlandse licht leek het ver, heel ver weg. Dichtbij of ver weg, uiteindelijk zit het allebei in jezelf…

Bye bye Londen!

“Het verleden is een verhaal,” zegt Eckhard Tolle. Een verhaal dat je met je mee draagt in je lichaam.  In je geheugen natuurlijk, maar ook als je bepaalde gebeurtenissen allang weer bent vergeten, dan nog weet je lichaam soms als vanzelf welke oude emoties daarbij speelden. Waarbij bepaalde aspecten worden uitvergroot en andere verdrongen, alsof je in de bolle spiegel kijkt.

Londen is ook een verhaal. Nog vers in mijn geheugen, en ik ben blij dat ik er was. Toevallige ontmoetingen, voedselstalletjes op Borough Market (wat ziet die paella er goed uit!) en een prachtige zonsondergang. Mooie herinneringen om mee te dragen.

Het mooie in het grauwe

Het lijkt alsof ik in Londen zit. Maar Londen is alweer verleden tijd; ik ben terug en sorteer thuis de foto’s. Bijvoorbeeld deze hierboven met bezorgers van de Roti Brothers in Crystal Palace.

Prachtig weer toen ik aankwam. Even wachten op het mooiste licht.

Geweldig om vanaf de Tower Bridge over de Thames te kijken en de Shard te zien – bij de bouw het hoogste gebouw in Europa. Op de achtergrond de London Bridge. Hoeveel landmarks wil je op één foto?

Soms lijkt het leven wiebelig en gefragmenteerd. Grote kans dat je in de verkeerde richting kijkt 😊

En toch, er zit me iets dwars. Jaren geleden vertelde iemand mij over critical discours analyses. Wetenschappelijke analyse van teksten van een groep en het discours, het taalgebruik daarin. In dat taalgebruik zit opgesloten hoe volgens de groep de werkelijkheid in elkaar steekt, en wat daarbij als moreel goed en fout wordt gezien. Boodschap was: “Er bestaat geen objectieve werkelijkheid. Alles is een verhaal.”

“Wat een flauwekul,” dacht ik toen. Typisch zo’n uitspraak van iemand die zijn eigen vakgebied critical discourse analyses het allerbelangrijkste vond.

Maar inmiddels weet ik beter. Het is waar. Dankzij mijn spirituele leraren weet ik dat het nog erger is dat ik ooit had kunnen vermoeden. Wat wij denken te zien als werkelijkheid is alleen maar een waarneming, niets meer dan een verhaal in onze geest.

Ik moest er weer aan denken bij deze Londen foto’s. De verleiding is groot om een mooi weer verhaal te schrijven over hoe geweldig reizen toch is. Net als zo veel mooi weer reisverhalen die via social media langskomen. Maar het was geen mooi weer, behalve die eerste dag dan. En het was ook geen fijne reis.

Ik heb mijzelf de opdracht gegeven om schoonheid te vinden in de grauwe werkelijkheid. Bijvoorbeeld hoe mooi een regenfoto in Crystal Palace kan zijn.

Of hoeveel schoonheid je kunt vinden als je de trein mist en een half uur moet wachten op een leeg perron in Beckenham Junction.

Of de schoonheid van anderhalf uur geen treinen in Crystal Palace en niets anders te doen dan afwachten.
Ik heb mensen gezien, veel mensen. Ieder met hun eigen verhaal – afgezien van de verhalen waarvoor ik kwam ook de verhalen over roti bezorgen, over de bus naar huis nemen, over toeristische bezoekjes aan de Tower Bridge. En dit is mijn verhaal geworden, over het mooie in het grauwe