This is the story of a friend who has managed to make the time stand still.
This is my friend. He is a tall, handsome Dutch guy. HIs name means wind and that is what his wavy hair in different shades of grey and the lines on his face, like long lost driftwood brought ashore, tell about him as well. He is a child of the winds, letting himself and his path be guided by these forces.
Not too surprisingly, he has a deep voice, a sound emitted directly from his stomach. He speaks slowly and seldomly but when he does, it is with great precision and purpose.
My story today has no other purpose then introducing you to him in the hope that you will remember him the next time you agonize about your age. He taught me that age, time measured in years and days and seconds is nothing but a construction. A construction we can live by but must not.
But let’s start from the beginning:
He was born in a suburb of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, but was quickly attracted by the water, called by the winds to the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. The light construction fo the boats, the strong tissue of the sails, the carefree gliding through the waters, caught his curious eye and soon after his first encounter with the forces of nature, he started studying Industrial Design.
He lived alone in a small space above an old salt factory and through the round window he could overlook the canals of the city. There were only few sailboats coming through but the dynamics of the wooden construction were also present in movements of nature’s creatures. He spent night and day observing, growing more quiet with every passing boat.
He believes that tuning out one sense, his eyes grew more attentive. At school he stood out: For his height, his unruly hair, his quiet demeanour and his precise drawings. His professor recognized the aesthetics created by nature in his student’s work. He moved from observing swimming objects to humans drifting in waves through the inner city of Amsterdam. From his high lookout point he moved down to park benches, coffee shops or simple street curbs, always keeping an eye out for the people gliding by in tides.
Back and forth.
Back and forth.
Back and forth. Like the tides of the Atlantic on rocky shores.
By now you might imagine him as a strange type, living alone and closed away from society. Maybe that would have been his path but a wind, in the form of a beautiful, red haired woman, hit him and changed his course. The wind came and went, leaving him shaken up like after a tornado.
He was brought ashore in the sunny valleys of California, living a hectic, structed ife by the mimute: getting up at dawn, chekcing the weather and shouldering the surfboard to walk the steep, sandy bath down to catch the waves. Even though his hair is now tamed and he is wearing dark navy suit, his sketches still speak of the quiet dutch observer sitting on the street curb in the city of canals.
In this illusion of the perfect, successful and popoular designer, another wind knowcked him down. A wind so strong it brought back alll his curls on this head and washed the color out like the sea.
With only a backpack on his shouldler, he drifted back to Europa, settling this time near a calmer ocean in Barcelona. Defeated.
Stop, he said to himself. A sailor shall not let the winds dictate his course, but rather studies them and uses them to his advantage. And so, after many hours observing the travles of boats, he finally got on one, holding the rudder tightly and steering out to the horizont letting the winds fill the white sails.
He now lives on the sea, his days marked by the light of the sun and the rise of the winds. The lines on his face, his deep laughter and sometimes his careful voice tell his story of the winds but not once has his age risen to the surface of this ocean of experiences.
To him, age is nothing but a construction. A construction we can live by but must not.
He has grown sensitive to his self and no longer needs the winds to nudge him to change. Just as he does not abide by the rules of the calendar or the watch, he has learned to become his own wind of change.
He is just as tall as he was when spending his days observing the tides in the city, he kept his dark, calm voice but turning to himself for change, he has lost his age.
He made his time stand still.