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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mark Smith - The red light district

Springtime in Amsterdam’s Wallen (The Red Light District) puts a spring in an Amsterdamer’s step. That long, nasty winter is over at last and the temperature is rising. It’s finally mild enough (with a few sun breaks here and there and a quick stop on the way to work for a cup of coffee) to wear that favorite outfit – that tattered but feel-good one she last wore in October, just before most of the tourists left town and all the outdoor cafes stowed away their terrace umbrellas for the winter. Sure, it’s raining on her way to work – but that never hurt anyone, did it? – and the spirits are very clear about how to handle this favorable turn of the climate. Her most festive blooming umbrella in hand, out through the door of her flat and out onto the street in her alluring outfit (worn to please herself in celebration of the season, but sure to please the cliental at her Red Light District night job too).

Queens Day is over, and the streets will be jammed with this year’s tourist throng in a week or two. The Coots are all mating and nesting on the District canals and the trees are budding their way toward summer. Music trickles out of open cafe doors...and she thinks about the Coots on the canals and the Swans she saw this morning out on the harbor. Sometimes she just wants to fly away from her crummy job – like most people she knows -- -- -- but not today. It may have been weeks since the calendar equinoxed, but spring began for her today when today turned mild with a few showers instead of icy, fierce, and cold.

So today she put on her favorite outfit – the one she wore last in Autumn, and with a spring in her step she walked to work through the Wallen in the drizzle... ... ... ... ... and there I was with my camera -- -- -- left alone, wondering aloud, and wandering about the Wallen in the rain ... ...

Mark Smith