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Spring in the Netherlands is: kids as pavement artists

Walking out the door this morning I played hopscotch, with askew numbers, drawn by childish hand, in pink and green chalk. Right – Pink, Left – Green….

Right – Pink, Left – Green.

My bag was jumping on my hip, a lady with her hair covered by a veil shook her head, smiling embarrassed.

Just a few steps and I found myself in front of a monstrous double-headed creature, a sort of chicken from hell, with a bulbous body with yellow outlines and four wings.  A Cerberus erupted from the hands of a six years old deity.

He forgot to draw the feet. Maybe it’s me, that I don’t know that the Chicken-Cerberus has no feet. It has four wings anyway. It flies, no need to walk.

I walked by the Turkish greens shop, then the fishmonger and I find myself in a greenwood of vortexes and lines, light blue and orange, but yellow and pink as well. A breeze of colors on which I didn’t  want to put my feet , but they were occupying the complete sidewalk.

I had to walk on it, gently, hoping that the owner of the Garden of Vortexes would not find me in his field.

The bridge of the ferry,  the bakery where I usually stop to buy a chocolate muffin before to go to work.

Goedemorgen meneer, would you like a muffin as usual? We have some fresh appleflap as well. It’s a nice day today, isn’ t it?

It was a good day: the light was strong and clean and the wind was chilly, it flowed down the torah like water.

I kept walking, I jumped over a turd.

I found shells in front of my feet… Or maybe oranges… Was that a spermatozoid? Maybe it was a balloon but to me, it totally looked like a spermatozoid. I need to find a steady boyfriend. This kid may become a scientist when he grew up.

I went a bit further, half of my muffin was already gone: it was all chocolate, something you might choke on and die with a smile.

A blue line, with smooth twists, drew my path for a couple of meters. A chalk mark made out of boredom, like one of those sunny afternoons that can suddenly get you during the Dutch spring, sweeping the clouds away from the thoughts, making them more transparent and in this way, less present.

Than it stopped, as it started, with an invisible dot, identical to those behind it.

A minimalist kid, with a clean stroke.

It’s  spring in the Netherlands when the kids discover themselves as Madonnari (pavement artists). I never see them but I see their chalk marks, not only in my neighborhood but all over the town.

kids spring

Here the kids still played in the street. The parents might live the door or the window open on the ground floor, to check on them but from a distance.

A lady once told me that Dutch kids are like little birds, that are slowly pushed out of the nest: they need to learn how to fly and find their own way independently. This reminded me of my childhood but I wasn’t living in a town. I’m from a small village in the mountains and my neighbor owned cows.

My friends from the town grabbed nettles with both hands thinking they were flowers and then they were crying with fear in their eyes just afterwards. I was shocked by their stupidity.

I think that kids in Dutch towns are aware of the fact that nettles are flowers that make you cry.

Marco Alf

Marco Alf

My name is Marco and I'm not interested in happy endings. The story is more important to me. When I was 26 I decided to leave my small village in Italy and Amsterdam simply happened to be on the way at the right time. I'm not sure what I'm still doing here but I'm trying to figure it out,among others writing a blog about the life of an Italian in the Netherlands and Genti di Olanda (just in Italian). I pretend to be busy, so I collaborate sometimes as well with RadioPizza Olanda, a webradio for italians. I know. We are everywhere. But that's what makes the world a better place. 🙂
Marco Alf