Monday, January 28, 2008
Coming Back to Amsterdam
After a family and fun-filled week in the United States I arrived back in Amsterdam on a typical rain-soaked Saturday. As my tram crossed over the Singel canal at Koningsplein I saw what was a first for me: a large boat going down the canal bearing a casket. A large cheerful spray of flowers covered the characteristically-shaped box. It was made of pine and unvarnished, leading me to speculate that the boat was headed out to sea for a mariner's burial.
At that very moment, I had been thinking about how delighted I was to be back in this most gentle of cities, and somehow I found the casket sighting reassuring in a cycle of life kind of a way. Perhaps for the first time, after living here for two years, it occurred to me that I just may spend many, many years here, perhaps even my final ones, and suddenly that seemed rather comforting. And, as my tram left the odd scene and shook its way up Leidsestraat to my lively home stop, Leidseplein, I grinned to myself and gave a silent wave to whomever was apparently sailing out to sea for their final boat trip: good on ya, I thought, end your days in Amsterdam, and then just give yourself up to the sea. Not a bad finish, not bad at all.