“It’s clouds illusions I recall,” sang Joni Mitchell in the 70’s. I find myself humming the tune as I cycle to work in the mornings, looking up at the expansive morning sky, and the clouds that flutter to and fro, in a sort of theatrical production.
Midday, I stand doing dishes in the kitchen. I look out of the wide windows again, up into that gorgeous Dutch sky, noticing that the clouds have changed their patterns a hundred times since I last gazed at them.
Later on, as I cycle to retrieve the girls from school, the bright blue sky gives way to an ominous grey, and within seconds, big, fat raindrops begin to hit me in the face. How quickly things can change.
This ephemeral movement in the sky somewhat characterizes life in The Netherlands. The people, the bikes, the children, the waiters, everyone is constantly moving. Appearances change from day to night, appointments are made, friends meet each other for a morning coffee and then a late supper, kids recklessly skateboard after school, grandmothers walk their dogs slowly, and ladies put on their lipstick, before joining evening festivities.
The Dutch sky has long been sought after by artists, who strain to capture the feeling of the extraordinary light, fleeting between innocent clouds. Those clouds never fail to lose our captivation; rather, they increase our interest with all things romantic and fantastical. I often feel quite humble when I look up at the sky; a thought waves over me with the suggestion that I’m quite a small and insignificant creature, compared to this complex, interweaving force from above.
But most importantly, I feel inspired, energetic, and (to be so cliché) like I’m alive! It’s one hell of a beautiful world, and I’m so lucky to be right here, right now. xx Helen Anne
Photographs via John Does Amsterdam