Twisted

stairwell-large

I don’t mind climbing the stairs of old stairwells. It’s enjoyable to look up or down as the view changes with every twist.

This is the stairwell of hotel Baudin in Paris. The green dot is a decorative plant on the ground floor. It’s nice, don’t you think?

In response to this week’s WordPress photo challenge: Twisted.

Liquid

mint-tea-large

On Wednesdays, I used to go to the small cafe in our local museum to drink a cup of tea and write a few lines in a notebook.

I had the habit of ordering fresh mint tea with honey. Letting the honey drip into the tea evoked not-so-deep-but-still-somewhat-philosophical thoughts.

Like how bitterness really needs sweetness, or how surprisingly slow something thick can flow, or how mindful it really is to look at, or what do you think?

In response to this week’s WordPress photo challenge: Liquid.

A place for dreams

horse-panel-large

What is your place in the world?

This week’s WordPress photo challenge is rather ambiguous. Sure, my first answer would be, at home with my family. At work with my colleagues. Meeting with friends and acquaintances.

Thinking about it, I realized that there’s another place in the world where I’ve always felt at home: in dreams.

The book with the reproduction above is currently standing on a cabinet in our living room. These horses were painted on the walls of Chauvet Cave in the French Ardèche some 35.000 years ago. They are the oldest known paintings in the world.

The cave was discovered in 1996. I remember my excitement when I learned about the cave and I dreamed about descending there one day and see the paintings with my own eyes. It won’t happen, because the cave was locked after its discovery and will never be accessible to the public.

Descending in Chauvet Cave was a dream and yet, on a very hot summer day, some years ago, while spending our vacation in Southern France, I took the car and drove up to Vallon-Pont-d’Arc. After visiting the research center, I drove a bit further down the Ardèche river, in search of the exact spot of the cave.

It was almost impossible to find, but finally I was standing between the grapes, in front of a limestone escarpment, the Ardèche river with the famous Pont d’Arc behind me, perhaps some hundred meters or less from the cave inside the limestone. I could almost feel the presence of the paintings, or so it seemed.

And that is what dreams can do: if you allow them, they may guide you to people and places and experiences that are unforgettable.

In response to the WordPress photo challenge: Place in the world.

More information
Chauvet Cave (Wikipedia)

Nuenen

snowy-landscape-with-old-tower-large

In the winter of 1883, the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) went to live with his parents in the village of Nuenen.

The Netherlands is a small country. Nuenen is only an hour drive from Amsterdam. For those who love Vincent van Gogh there is a lot to like there: the little church where his father was a pastor, the house of his friend and mistress Margot Begemann, the windmill that is visible on so many paintings.

One of the most remarkable buildings is gone though. It was demolished in Vincent van Gogh’s time, not long before he left Nuenen in 1885. It’s the old church tower. Just like the windmill, it is depicted on many paintings.

The tower stood outside the village in the fields. Nowadays it’s a residential area. The ground plan of the tower has been marked with stone.

location-old-tower-large

Strangely enough, this spot has become a favorite place. It is a bit sad of course. But, well, that’s life. Things come and things go. Fortunately we have the paintings and drawings.

Just look at the one above. Vincent van Gogh drew it in the first days after his arrival in Nuenen. It’s called ‘Snowy Landscape with the Old Tower’. The tower seems a bit lonely and it is almost as if it wants to say something, or so it seems, don’t you think?

In response to this week’s WordPress photo challenge: Favorite place.

I’d rather be…

leica-large

…taking pictures with an old Leica.

But then, that would be so impractical. I would feel like a dinosaur, trying to figure it all out.

And then, I do have a Leica, that is, sort of. My great little iPhone that is always with me.

The Leica above was from the famous French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004). He taught me that moments won’t reoccur. If you see a picture, take it, there won’t be a second chance. He said:

Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever.

Mindfulness ‘avant la lettre’!

In response to this week’s WordPress photo challenge: I’d rather be…