As the fresh new snow blankets the ground and lays a layer of white powder on everything standing still, it feels like a permission for a new beginning. All is still, all is clean, all is white and a new chapter can now begin.
Yesterday the sun was shining as it still is today and the whole day, snowflakes shimmered in the sun, floating, dancing and eventually landing gently on surfaces, each in its unique glory.
Despite the bitter cold, I kept finding myself jumping up, grabbing my camera and heading outdoors to try and capture the magic of what was going on.
It’s always a good time to restart a blog, but there is something more compelling about living through:
a global pandemic
a general breakdown of norms as we know them
an increase in conductivity (trust me on that)
incredibly strange weather patterns
varied degrees of lockdown measures
living vicariously through my photographic archived memories
becoming great friends with my teenage daughter
a complete change of domestic circumstance
a complete halt on all travel plans and viewing humans as 2 dimensional beings through Zoom.
adding a whole new set of skills to my arsenal (Motion Graphics)! (More on that soon)
Yesterday I decided to just go see what other people are doing during this almost 10 days of unusual arctic temperatures in Germany. So after spending one hour trying to remove thick ice from the car, I made it on the icy roads to Duesseldorf, to find joyful people, walking in the bright sun, on white frozen snow, next to a Rhein River in high tide, some masked, some not and I was in awe of finding out how much I missed people in general, the passing conversations with strangers and the funny smiles I get when I perform my weird acrobatics to get strange angled shots.
I wonder how much influence the elements have on people’s emotions and how deep it goes. If long winters make you tense and moderate sunny weather makes a whole population merrier? On days like today I want to move to Italy.
Day 75 of 365~
Image taken in Duesseldorf when March declared the return of winter in full force.
Every year at about the same time in November a new wind blows in Shanghai bringing with it the promise of a heartless winter to come. But there is so much to love about the way the fall forces itself on summer, not offering any apologies, simply making a bold statement, stripping the trees of their leaves, forcing us all to alertness and away from the laziness of summer warmth.
I still remember riding my bike to work in Soho with wet hair and arriving with jingling frozen dreadlocks from the blistering New York City wind that blew in the maze between the tall buildings, and then suddenly the first tulips appeared and with them the slightly more mild and beautiful weather that makes the city so special in the Spring time. At this time of year, you feel hope very strongly as it floods the place with the promise of Spring and warmth emanating from every single flower on every city street.
One third of all cigarettes worldwide is being smoked in China. More than 300 million smokers, about 3000 deaths per day due to smoke related illnesses according to the most recent WHO study. And still, an unbelievable 60 % of the smoking population does not know about health risks associated with smoking…
Children as young as 3 years old have been seen smoking and inhaling smoke in China with pride. It certainly hurts to watch this go on, especially in a country where air pollution alone can blacken your unsuspecting lungs…
Photo taken: woman smoking on a cold day on a Shanghai street
Is there anything more inspiring to contemplate than nature? I was watching the snowy landscape and letting my mind drift when it suddenly stopped at the thought of water and its different forms, inspired by the view of the soft powdery snow on this wood and barbed wire fence. I thought of how much depth and how many different truths exist to each one thing. We live in a multi-dimensional universe where water is not just water, but steam, ice, snow, hydrogen, oxygen, hail and even fog. So, how could anyone claim to know the whole truth? Isn’t only those who don’t even know themselves?
Winter has a way of appearing overnight in Shanghai, from one moment to the next, the mild air disappears and it gets replaced by a biting cold wind that makes itself known and heard, winter is here! The city looks so different in the colder season, and Shanghainese are known to bundle up heavily, 3 pairs of pants, 5 shirts, a lot of wool and the children end up looking like tiny Sumo wrestlers with all their padding. Pretty soon the meats will start to be seen hanging from windows to dry and fires on the street for cooking and keeping warm are lit. There is still an old time nostalgic feel to this amazing city despite the rapid and dizzying speed of modernism, Shanghai is a traditional city at heart.
Today, another blistering cold day in Shanghai, I walked the streets with my friend Sabrina, who I am pushing to start her “365” project—soon it will work!
I love it when special things happen like meeting a stranger who smiles at you with all their heart, you talk (in this case with my limited mandarin and lots of giggles), and then an hour later you meet them again and they are still in the same bubbly mood and delighted to see you again.
Workers in China are the driving force of this emerging dragon nation. They are often very lively and fun to deal with. This one here made my day!