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First Impressions

July 28, 2012

In a land variously at or under the level of the sea there is but opportunity to prick the land with trees and buildings. In all truth, the buildings are also a form of tree, as buildings are built, largely, on pilings throughout the country. If the great palaces of the hill-towns of Italy are accreted pathways and terraces of the everyday life of Italians — the Dutch sprouted their halls from the rich earth.

In a moment of need I wondered: how does plumbing work here? The cardinal rule of most plumbers is that water will always run downhill… I suppose it will run downhill, underwater, if need be. Questions to be answered.

The immediate and intimate truth it that the open window to the street exists! Often I saw frosted windows instead of lace curtains, but it’s indeed a “blinds-up” culture. Listing brick buildings crowd together along the street and canal. There is no shortage of lime trees… Although in Stockholm, the Tilia are still in flower. Here those little nuts are being formed. Against every major roadway, there appears to be a ditch, full of duckweed and reedgrass, and the best are bordered with trees.

The canals are remarkable. The low boats of the canal, the cogs, the tjotter, some converted as hotels, apartments and party-locales. A string of incandescent lights flicked on, as I passed a long barge. Sandwiched between a motorcraft and a canal barge, a nosey gull perches on a sunken hull in the morning grey.

It’s humid and my skin feels sooty.


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