We crossed the Afsluitdijk, a 20-mile dike which separates the North Sea from IJsselmeer, the largest lake in Western Europe (and yes, both the I and J are supposed to be capitalized...).
It's a pretty amazing feat of engineering to observe. You can even see the difference in water level between the sea and the lake as you stand there.
As we approached the half-way point on the dike, there were many mixed emotions about stepping out to witness its glory:
|Kiana is longingly looking for her camera, which is packed away in the back of the van.|
|Charlie is a master of ironic faces.|
|IJsselmeer on the left, North Sea on the right.|
This is where we stopped. Zoom out by clicking the minus sign.
When we arrived in Den Helder, there was an odd moment approaching the theatre when everyone else in the van began to recognize it from our tour last January. While I mostly have a terrible memory (I once finished telling a story to a friend with a stellar memory who then informed me that it was the fourth time I had told her the story...whoops...), I do tend to have a really great visual memory for places and things I've seen. This is great for Barrage since so many of the memorable things we do are place-oriented, or at least, that's how I organize them in my brain. It's common in the States for us to drive up to a venue at which we've previously performed, and I'll be the only one who recognizes it right away.
That being said, I was becoming especially confused at my not being able to remember the venue. But then, as we pulled up to the loading dock at the back of the theatre, I suddenly remembered the venue.
And I instantly figured out why I hadn't remembered anything: last year, Kristina and I had been lost in the ridiculous hysterics of air-playing to a recording of the 3rd movement of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. Nerdy anecdote aside, I was struck by the oddness of the memory, that I remembered the back of the theatre and not the front...but, I guess that's what happens when you always use the "artiesteningang."
It's common, from stage, to see people excited by our performances, totally enjoying what we do. But every once in a while, we also get to witness someone's life being genuinely affected in a real, profound way. It's an indescribable, yet incredibly distinct, appearance. One of those things you know, but can't explain in words, because it looks different on everyone.
As we took the stage in Den Helder, I noticed a young guy, probably 16 or so, sitting with his mom in the second row. I could tell right away that he was a musician just by the way he was physically responding to the music. And I could also tell that he was one of these people who was taking in our show on a level completely different from those around him. He was a displaying an enthralling mixture of enthusiasm, joy, and curiosity.
There's nothing quite like realizing that you're part of his experience.
It's thrilling. Exhilarating.
We were all hoping he would stay afterward because we wanted to meet him. Turns out he wasn't a violinist as many of us had suspected. He was, of all things, a blues harmonica player. A blues harmonica player! In the Netherlands. Crazy.
It seems appropriate that I'm writing about this type of thing on my 100th blog post. A reminder of why I love doing what I do, and how fortunate I am to be here, crossing dikes and changing lives.