Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Almost a Decade
Today the skies reminded me of one of my favorite Ruisdael paintings, The Windmill at Wijk bij Duurstede. The work is a true classic. As a matter of fact, when there is talk about "Dutch art", Ruisdael is the first master that comes to mind. Even before Rembrandt. His flat landscape with thick, often threatening clouds dotted with spots of sunlight, the windmills or bleaching fields, the turbulent seas- all of these are powerful symbols of The Netherlands*. I have sometimes heard people complain that the country lacks majestic landscapes. "It's just too flat here!" Well, funny enough, in the middle ages, flatlands were considered to be as close to paradise as you could possibly get! Every country has different elements of beauty and to me, The Netherlands is a stunning little corner of the world. I love gazing at the long stretches of lush, green land and how it almost seem to melt into skies. I've never seen clouds more beautiful than I have here.
This afternoon I decided to really take my time to admire the Dutch landscape. During my lunchtime walk, I often stopped, just to observe. I looked at people racing by me on their bikes and wondered if this modern symbol of Dutch transportation would have made its way into Ruisdael's paintings had it existed in the 17th century. In a few weeks I will be celebrating a decade in this country. Sure the first few years here were hard, but I feel it would've been ignorant of me to not have made the most out of this wonderful opportunity. I have grown to love this country even more through the study of its language and culture. I am glad I've been able to call The Netherlands "home" for the past ten years.
*People often incorrectly refer to The Netherlands as "Holland", but the name "Holland" actually refers to two provinces in the country: Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland.