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  • This morning had a liquid softness to it; all chiaroscuro edgelessness.
    I stood on the riverbank; my mind, like the morning, as yet not committing itself to clarity.
    I reached for my camera to capture this athmosphere, when something made me look around.
    Nynka was just passing on her bicycle. She saw me too and slowed to a halt.
    "Well ! You here!", she greeted. " What a surprise. Shouldn't you be working?".
    " I decided to take the day off, as I wanted to do some painting", I replied.
    "Oh! How wonderful", she agreed, looking over my shoulder, "it really is a beautiful scene."
    "No", I laughed, miming holding a paint brush and sweeping my right arm up and down, " I mean 'painting'. The window sashes at the house need some work done on them before the winter sets in, and it promises to be a good day."
    "Of course. Well, see you later." She cycled off, and I returned to taking some photographs.

    As I was driving, I got there first. I opened the gates and parked the car. Seeing Nynka approaching, I held the gate open for her.
    "Well, I never!" she remarked as she cycled through.
    Locking the gates again, and turning to leave the city behind me, I crossed the gravel path and entered Eldorado.

    'Eldorado' is an ornamental-garden complex situated just outside Amsterdam.
    There are about 50 gardens spread over three paths, and each garden has a little house.
    And flowers; lots and lots of flowers. Some gardens are very beautiful. Some have vegetable plots too, with fruit trees.
    There is no electricity. There is running water and bottled gas to cook, and there is one toilet at the end of each path.
    It's basic stuff. These are 'get-away gardens' for urban dwellers to escape the metropolitan din, to potter about with their hands in the dirt.
    Nynka is the grounds-lady. She prunes and sweeps and mows the public areas of the otherwise private gardens.

    Since the summer we too own a garden here.
    We misjudged how neglected the garden was by the previous owners; a very old couple who no longer were up to maintaining it.
    We've spent the last months fixing up the house and hacking back the 'jungle' to some semblance of order, and at the same time being confronted with our own frustrations and impatience. We are getting there... slowly.

    But today is different.
    The sun burned away the mists and cleared my head.
    It's so warm it must be twenty degrees.
    Stripped to the waist, I painted the windows, working quickly and warming to the indian summer sun.

    Pleasantly tired now, I accept the gift of this late autumn day, enjoying the reds and ochres of the changing leaves.

    I soak up the last hours of golden autumn sun...

    ...El Dorado
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