Over the Christmas holidays, one afternoon I felt the irresistible need for some fresh air, my body craving to make the most of the little sunlight of the short winter days. So I grabbed my camera and went out, with no other plan than to walk along the streets close to home, open to capturing whatever inspired me. The light was beautiful, though I was clearly working against the clock to actually take some photos before darkness fell.
This simple window caught my eye, the colour and texture of the shutters with their half-moon crescents and the stack of mixed-and-matched plates drying in the rack. In my imaginary it brings up a feeling of home, cosyness, like everyone was off having a nap after tidying the kitchen together and in a few hours preparation for the next family meal will start…
I walked further, along the old walls of the village. A few families were out and about, several generations together walking dogs or most probably taking a digestive stroll in the chilly air. The last rays of sunshine lit up these bare trees, so it seemed like they were in the spotlight.
As the sun disappeared, I loved the sight of these pretty lanterns lining the street against the last colours of the sky.
My last find was this incredible mansion with its tower, the wooden beams in different tones of blue, perfectly colour-coordinated. It’ s a private house so I could only peer semi-discreetly from behind the wall, but I can imagine settling there to write a book, a steaming coffee by my side on an old wooden desk by tower window, overlooking the garden while birds flit in and out of the trees…
For ages I’ve been meaning to get up early to enjoy watching the sun rise. Though sometimes I witness gorgeous sunrises as I cycle to work in the winter, it’s not like I really take the time to enjoy them to their full extent. When we’re on holidays, Paolo and I do our best to see the sunrise, somehow it’s easier to get up at an ungodly hour when you know you can indulge in a leisurely nap in the afternoon. However lately I’ve been feeling I want to experiment with weaving more of the fun things we give ourselves space to do in the holidays into daily life.
So I decided to simply set the alarm at 5:30am on my free Friday, and after some inevitable snoozing, I got up and headed outside to enjoy the morning light as it appeared. When I told a friend about it afterwards, she immediately asked ‘Where did you go?’. Actually this time I kept the bar low and just went out the front door and into the neighbourhood, nothing fancy but it was perfect!
I love being up and about before other people wake up, and it felt like I had the streets to myself. It was very quiet, with barely any cars or people, just lots of birds singing loudly to each other. As I explored, I decided to be mindful and focus specifically on the light as its slanted rays started to shine on the peaceful world around me. I took my time and noticed what my eyes were drawn to.
The most magical detail was the dew, one perfectly round drop hanging onto the tip of every single strand of grass, glistening in the sun. I’d never noticed that was what dew looked like up close, it was mezmerising! It is such a pleasurable way to start the day, I definitely want to do this again soon.
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #19
This morning was one of the first sunny spring mornings, so instead of trying to get to the office as fast as possible I decided to take my time (it was Friday after all!). I took a slightly different route as I cycled through the Vondelpark and just making that small change made me much more aware of my surroundings. Normally I am lost in my thoughts, or just paying attention to the path, but this morning I really enjoyed the view. The soft sunlight shining through the trees was magnificent!
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #13
Last weekend the sky was crisp blue and the sun was out, so on Sunday Paolo and I wrapped up in many layers of warm clothes to go for a brisk walk. There are a few nice places to wander close to our flat, and this time we ended up in De Oeverlanden park, a place we’d never explored together.
It felt great to be outdoors, and enjoy chatting while we walked along the water. It was so good to feel the sun on my face, and the reflection of the sunlight sparkling on the lake through the reeds was simply beautiful.