April 23, 2009

Just a quick note as I pack my suitcase for the night train to Amsterdam.  I booked late and cannot get a private or semi-private room.  So, I'm in with three other women on a lower bunk and looking forward to the adventure.  I'll not get to see the lower and upper Rhine Valley unfortunately as we move through the castles in the dark.  Jutta, a student of mine from the lower Rhine area says then I must stay awake and feel the ambience of the region.  It may be that I don't sleep much at all, so I may be quite awake to see lights on the castles at night.

I won't have time in Amsterdam to go walking.  The architecture reminds me of New York, Brooklyn to be exact.  Brooklyn, my home town, was first a Dutch settlement and the Dutch influence is visible in the architecture.  This makes me feel quite at home in The Netherlands.  Zen River, the monastery I'm about to visit is in a little town about 30 minutes from Groningen and about 20 minutes from the north coast.  It's flat as flat can be and the sky is the central element in the landscape.  Sky a delicate blue as we see in the great Flemish paintings.  The wind is relentless and they say that if you can spend a winter close to the Baltic Sea, you can call yourself a European.  

I'm on my way.  More from Zen River where the chanting is sublime.