Saturday, July 2, 2011
Biking thru Amsterdam
There's a lot one could say about Amsterdam, an intriguing combination of light & shadows. My most memorable experience is the ease of jumping on bike and entering the bicycle expressway....even at 2 am....all kinds of humanity, mothers with kids in tow, people commuting to work, going to market, and most elegantly crusing thru the parks and lakes enjoying the play of sun & clouds passing overhead. Seems to me a most exquisite expression of democracy, that anyone has the right to a vehicle and space on the road (there are bicycle freeways, not just bike lanes) and freedom to move with ease, sustainable, green, non-petoleum, good exercise and fun! What seems like danger (stepping into a bike lane unawares watch out!), the apparent chaos of intersecting lanes & traffic, somehow people weave together in a road dance that is magical. It reminded us most of burning man at night, people flowing in all directions, creating a web of movement that is like contact improv.
Perhaps my 'reflection' upon amsterdam today (as opposed to 40 years ago living nearby)......is that it's a stage set from history that is now filled with a new tone & rhythm, it doesn't quiet match. The picture perfect world of flower pots above the boats in the canals, busty young women carrying leeks to market, arching magical bridges to roam listening to a violin playing above....all these images of our northern venice....is not what amsterdam is today. Rather a vibrant, pulsing experiment in blending polar extremes of humanity, watching & listening to see how we all can survive & love together. MaxAaron