06 November 2010

Dutch Clouds - from both sides now

It's funny that when I was young and living in the open farmlands of Iowa in the heart of America, you could find me on lazy summer days, stretched out, lying on my back on fresh mown hay, watching clouds come and go. As I got older and had access to the library with art books filled with world famous paintings, you would find me flipping in dimly lit corners of the building thumbing through pages of works by the Dutch Masters.

I distinctly remember how I marveled at the cloud formations they painted. They were images from a world that was for me- far away in a place called Holland. Painters put their brush to canvas and recreated the vision of what I used to think were simply exaggerations of clouds. They weren't anything like clouds I knew.

That was then.

Now that I live in Zuid Holland, the clouds I see from my urban home in the heart of Rotterdam look no different than the clouds those Dutch Masters painted.  Everything else between then and now has changed.

Joni Mitchell's song, Both Sides Now could be no more appropriate to illustrate my situation.

Living along the harbor gives me front row seat to watch the clouds build to a glorious crescendo before massing and dumping rain over the region.  The steady breezes along the harbor from the ocean help the clouds to dissipate just as quickly as they form. Nothing less than miraculous. Clouds and life's illusions!

I found a couple videos that give a view of Dutch Clouds today in the Netherlands.
VIDEO 1 - Dutch clouds much like those frequently seen overhead.
VIDEO 2 - Dutch clouds with a little waltz music.

Below is a photo timeline I created of a Dutch cloud bank that formed above the building across the street from my home.  This was from a period of about 20 minutes. 

Joni Mitchell - BOTH SIDES NOW

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
I've looked at clouds from both sides now

From up and down, and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As ev'ry fairy tale comes real
I've looked at love that way

But now it's just another show
You leave 'em laughing when you go
And if you care, don't let them know
Don't give yourself away

I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It's love's illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say "I love you" right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I've looked at life that way

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I've changed
Well something's lost, but something's gained
In living every day

I've looked at life from both sides now 
From win and lose and still somehow 
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all
I've looked at life from both sides now 
From up and down, and still somehow 
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all
Jacques Brel - Mijn Vlakke Land


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