Plastic in Bordeaux, pigeons in Amsterdam – ways to connect

The days are full of wonder as they always are, and there is nothing more than today that one could ever need and wish for. In that wonder I share with you words by David Whyte:

THE OPENING OF EYES

That day I saw beneath dark clouds

the passing light over the water

and I heard the voice of the world speak out,

I knew then, as I had before

life is no passing memory of what has been

nor the remaining pages in a great book

waiting to be read.

It is the opening of eyes long closed.

It is the vision of far off things

seen for the silence they hold.

It is the heart after years

of secret conversing

speaking out loud in the clean air.

It is Moses in the desert

fallen to his knees before the lit bush.

It is the man throwing away his shoes

as if to enter heaven

and finding himself astonished,

opened at last,

fallen in love with solid ground.

Words that could carry countless meanings to their countless readers.

With some dear friends we often conclude how we eventually make up our meanings of things we encounter, alone and together.. what ever then is real and not real? Our thoughts, imagined.. our actions, results of our thoughts, sometimes.. signs on our way; lucky happenings!

photo1168photo1164

I made my way to Bordeaux last week. The trip down took me two days, because I first wanted to hitch-hike but it took a whole one day to just get through the Netherlands and Belgium.. Wonderful, wonderful people took me with and shared their little moments and journey with me. Finally three Italians made space for me in their already full car, they were truly lovely and dropped me off at a petrol station right before Paris at my request.. but there was nowhere to stay, or even camp close by, and it was getting late, so I found one more lift into the city to spend the night there and continued on my way in the morning. But going into Paris was not the greatest of ideas, for I just couldn’t get out again – after waiting by the roadside for three hours I decided eventually to take the bus to Bordeaux, just to get there that day as I had hoped for. Before the bus I played a bit at Gare de Lyon, on a sunny morning, with a full-hearted enthusiasm, and a few songs with the clarinet earned me a lunch and metro money which I was very thankful for and happy to have had the courage, as all these times have been, to actually just do it and play.

In Bordeaux I was welcomed by Ariane, my “little sister” from the time together in Equatorial Guinea. How good it was to meet again! I had also for long somehow wished to visit Bordeaux. The girls concentrated on job search, and I was also inspired with that by them, while part of the time I explored the city, and sang my heart out in a friendly, pretty street where I was delighted by people’s reception.. I must share this personal amazement, how nice it feels when someone stays and listens for a little while longer.. I was given a traditional Bordeaux cake by a shop keeper, and there was one lovely girl who drew me a little message and a flower on a piece of paper. Sweet, little things; some of these sessions playing and singing are such that time is forgotten, there is nothing else than the music, the people and that moment and place we’re sharing.. rather magical, truly, and I am only trying, exploring so am thoroughly grateful for such moments.

We went to the sea one day. To see the ocean, again.. makes my heart soar and soul feel peace that is not to be determined, dynamic and yet so full and ever present. Huge waves, wind, sun and sand.. This late winter’s day was pretty amazing.

However, we were surprised by the amount of garbage on the beach. Ariane had just finished an internship researching the possibilities of using satellites as tools in detecting plastic in the oceans, so this topic was altogether fresh in her mind.. this was a popular beach where usually they haven’t encountered what we saw there that day. Rubbish is everywhere of course.. many things thrown out even at land might eventually end up in the oceans, where of course they will end up in places and washing up ashore where no one could guess.’

Sometimes of course we do all we can to recycle our goods, to not buy that much, to make sure things wouldn’t end up where they are not that beneficial.. and still, it is also so very easy to act otherwise. To produce garbage is such a strange thing – how easy it has become..! Of course everything is of nature, all that we do and produce – and eventually everything turns back into earth, or stardust, or whatever after maybe a long while..! But right now in these days that we have at hand we could choose to live one way or another, and yet to choose to live garbage-less for example means a whole lot of things that most of us would not even in the slightest measure, not to speak of changing behaviours completely, want to accept in life and pursue.

Yet.. it is good I think to explore those areas in one’s mind, communication with others and behaviours – what actually is possible. So easy it is to say that this or that is not possible – while mostly it is just that we don’t choose it, open up to it, or allow it. So one could try, to think and maybe to act, be garbage-less for a day for example..! How difficult would it be? Or to decide to gratefully accept letting go of some old items that are no more use to one and could be recycled.. or come up with uses for old items that as such are not useful anymore. Take that little moment to consider.. just that, little bit of awareness with one’s thoughts and actions, allows for a whole other world of possibility.

We throw away something we don’t need anymore, and it may end up in the ocean.. the thing may be eaten by an animal in the sea that dies because of it, or the item has substances that are not beneficial to sea-dwelling creatures – and all of this might be difficult to know or realize at that moment when we throw away our old, used thing. So, it is just so easy to not think all the way ‘till the end.. neither is it possible..! But we can choose to remember that our thoughts and actions have effects, whether we wish it or not, whether we intend it to be “positive or negative” – it is hard to know what the effects eventually will be – perhaps any action may somehow bring something positive to one, and something negative to another. In the moments when we remember to consider, we can remember these connections that exist between things – seen or unseen, known or strange, unpredictable or unquestionable.. How we might come to think that we are all in the same boat, as we maybe quite literally are, travelling on this common planet Earth, where each thought or thing we do to one person or being might be seen as something we do to ourselves. If we believe we are here to support each other, love, give and receive, seeing others happy and thriving means happiness for ourselves, and the other way around, since we are an interlinked entity of unique individuals – expressions of one Source..

So we might think, or not, but overall, what it maybe is all about is just that we have a wonderful capacity of thinking and doing many things, and we also are able to choose, and to care. Thus, excuses are easy.. staying in the known and comfortable is easy. Whereas, acting against learnt, comfortable, or commonplace is probably always difficult. Caring, in thought and action, takes courage..

photo1172 photo1175 In a Polish truck, on the way to Amsterdamphoto1176 photo1177 Street art in Bordeaux

The philosophies and religions of the world have throughout time and in current times been largely about this in their very core. Who knows what the human soul truly is like.. it seems to have sides as many as, well, anything else in the world! 🙂 Why we produce garbage, or why we get depressed quite a lot, such greed-driven wars, and ecological destruction.. may be because there is this disconnect of mind and action from the natural order of the world. Humans are probably some of the only creatures that consciously plan their futures and brood over their pasts. Not often do we humans grow, flow and learn in the manner such as the trees, animals, or the water.. without question. Our mind is what it is and questioning and planning is very normal for it. These wonderful minds, that are so easily tormented.. and so easily cheered up..! Amazing things, amazing creatures of whom every single one has a purpose and place right where they are right now. But how much we question, even that purpose.. 😉 Perhaps that is the great uniqueness and value of humans. Of that, we probably all make our own assumptions and meanings again. Whatever one might believe, I do think there is always a chance to remind ourselves, re-remember and reconnect, with all that is around. That possibility is there.

The past few days now I’ve been enjoying the immense hospitality and wonderful friendship of a most amazing Bolivian couple there can be. Exploring the feel and atmosphere of Amsterdam city, once again.. yesterday I went on a bicycle ride and one just cannot help but feel appreciative of this aspect of the Dutch culture – how easy and convenient it has been made to cycle to places!

There was a lovely birthday party of Chris’s on the weekend as well, get-together of friends.. some atmospheres of Amsterdam in the images below:

Chris & Rock'n'roll mood, according to the theme..! Canals and bicycles.. The Night's Watch at the Rembrandtplein Students on the barricades - for more humane, less profitability-driven teaching&learning

We’ve been all doing our things.. looking for work and opportunities as in my case, preparing for starting new job as in the case of Pamela.. working at the home-office, in the case of Christian. Chatting and wondering by the kitchen table with Pame, we’ve been inspiring each other and reflecting on thoughts and things of many kinds, in amazement by the troubles and miracles of the world. 🙂 The yard outside is crowded by pigeons, they make their nests on the balconies or attics when possible.. such common animals, pigeons are found everywhere, and how often do we see them rather as a nuisance or ignore them altogether..!

In our moments of reflecting, we’ve been wondering about these pigeons – looking at them with new eyes. Their activities, their search and quest for continuing their lives through an offspring.. they don’t seem to be questioning their doing and purpose all too much, though I would easily imagine they are at least feeling very frustrated at the moment, because they are having a very hard time finding a nesting spot at this inner yard – of that the people watching over their balconies, do take care..!

We imagined a sort of a utopia where everybody has enough food, shelter and love due to our magnificent inventions, technology and human innovation that would allow us to use efficiently just the resources we need, and all in a sustainable and equitable manner. What would we do with our days then? How would each person decide to spend their time, if mostly there wasn’t a need to ponder on or worry over getting enough food, shelter and love.. that is maybe something each person could think for a bit in their lives, as one means of gaining perspective.

But well, anyway, we came to the conclusion that observing pigeons would certainly be a nice activity was there time and only time in our hands. How very much can we learn by observing pigeons..!!

They are so clever, too, by the way. The guys have tried to keep the balcony clear of pigeons by using a string that stretches across the balcony railing, hopefully confusing the birds that search for the perfect Nesting Spot. Maybe it worked for a while, but surely so this one couple that have been several times to a nesting spot showing on Chris & Pame’s balcony have learnt to just carefully sit on the string in order to have a good view of the space from the top of the railing. So it is turning into an evolutionary arms-race, and amiable solutions are keenly being sought to accommodate everybody’s wishes and intentions! 🙂

Again, a reminder, how there is always at least that possibility to stop and consider.. with any thought or action.

Now as to me, I’ll stay a few days longer in Amsterdam, and then hopefully visit the old dear study town of Wageningen, with further plans (little by little) taking shape.

love, peace and light to every single soul out there!

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