Saturday 25 August 2007

Oosterpark in the morning

Up before Eight

One ride through Oosterpark in Amsterdam East long before 8:00AM was quite an insight. I could not believe the number of senior citizens who were up and doing whilst we the younger generations were having our Saturday morning lie-ins.

In fact, my mind went back to a resident in my apartment block who always seemed to be returning from some shopping trip or activity before 8:00AM – a quite capable man even though also quite advanced in years and of very few words that acknowledged one every time we met.

I would say I have never seen him out in the normal daytime, talk less of evenings or nights, however, I do wish there is someone, somewhere who comes round to say hello.

Human-beings and human-doings

So, back to the park, my observation as I rode into the park made me decide to loiter a bit on my bike to see what it was like, because I had always cycled through in haste, never seeing, never waiting completely indifferent.

Up by the skater’s half rounds and flats, a husband and wife from the Far East, possibly ready for a golden wedding anniversary were doing their tai-chi exercises, and then on to one of the children’s play areas, one was stretching as others were exercising on the bars.

Over the pond at the park benches, 5 or 6 who might have been friends for decades were chatting away with 3 noticeably non-Caucasians, laughter broke out as one smoked away.

Further down in the mowed green grass, some travelling back-packers had camped out without any shelter, supposedly, they had spent the night outside.

Not one dog walker in sight, no noise from children, none of the youth that terrify others minding their own businesses; just an idyllic setting where the older generation have captured their piece of Amsterdam devoid of the societal morass that fills our news wires day in and day out.

Their world, our world

I would suppose these grand people of sane and hardly senile society would tarry till about 10:00AM before the sun begins to burn away the peace for the onset of chaos as insane society begins to stir up and infect the world with the madness these good people have wisely avoided by rising up like the early bird for the worm.

Looking at the situation again, these are retired people who still get up early and do things that gives value and substance to their lives in community and social settings amongst their long known peers; whereas our ideas of retirement are about slumber, sloth, loafing, sauntering, idling and lazy sun worshipping, aborting certain routines of our earlier lives and looking for new locations to emigrate to in some ideal setting, separating ourselves from the lifeblood of the community of enduring fellowship and hence quickening the steps of the grim reaper.

I think we have lots to learn from those lively, healthy, laughing and wise senior citizens who wake up each morning to see the new dawn – How to start the day and how to relax – as we bay for the setting of the sun. I like Amsterdam in the early morning at the park.

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