I always want to document my travels and adventures, but sometimes, in the moment the moment itself does not seem significant enough to warrant remembering. Having learnt from experience though, I sometimes do try to document these moments that I deem unimportant, but not nearly enough of them. Recently I found my notebook from last year and reading some of the scribbled down thoughts describing my sensory experiences and looking at some of the hasty sketches brought back so many memories.
The really cold walk on the bridge in Antwerp, where the cold cut through my jacket, and my gloves proved to thin. I sat down on the bridge overlooking the river, on a bench in the early afternoon sun. The sun’s rays weren’t nearly warm enough to enjoy it, but it did stop me from freezing. I sat there sketching the opposite river bank, as couples with dogs, tourists with backpacks and kids with parents passed. One of the buildings on the other side of the river had the lyrics of ‘Mijn Stad’ from Stef Bos painted on its side.
Another series of moments that I wished I had captured more clearly was my weekly cycling in to Winterswijk. At the beginning of the year, it was so extremely cold. Some nights I arrived, head wrapped in a scarf, boots with extra thick socks, upper body too warm from the layers, and the bottom half, half frozen with my skin feeling dead. I remember stumbling into the dark house and making my way to the kitchen. I sat down on the heated floor and had a cup of steaming hot but weak tea. A few months later, it was the hottest and driest summer that Europe had ever experienced, and memories from the cold seemed very far away as I cycled with shorts, sandals and a t-shirt. The grass blades whipping as my bicycle’s frame hit them, and the fields lit up with the beautiful light preceding a sunset. And these are just two moments that I can remember of the 50 + times that I cycled that route.While it is still fresh in my memory, let me share a bit of my Saturday morning. I went meandering in Bishop’s Bird park in Centurion. It was just before nine on a lovely, sunny autumn day. Birds were chirping, leaves were slowly falling as a slight breeze rustled through the trees. The wildflowers had some dew on them from the night before They were like hidden jewels in fields of dried grass. It was a small paradise encapsulating the anonymity that the city offers. The droning of traffic faded away, and signs of domestication got less and less as I ventured deeper into this 500 m x 200 m park, almost as if I was leaving the city behind and going somewhere else, somewhere new, somewhere I have not been before and warranted remembering.