Places to visit and things to do . . . much to do . . .

9 Jun

I am doing better these days. It is now just a little over three weeks from surgery. I am still not really doing much of anything other than tending to the absolute necessities – which is pretty minimal. Most days I have a doctor’s appointment. And everyday a nurse comes in still to administer the IV antibiotics (hopefully there will only be a few more days of this). Although, I have had some really nice conversations with a few of the nurses, two in particular. Both love to travel and have traveled extensively. So, I have very much enjoyed talking with them and hearing about their past and planned travels.

As these women discussed past travels, trips these women had taken – some to places that I had been and places I would like to go (based upon their descriptions) it made me reflect upon some of the wonderful experiences I have had . . . like going to the Kroller Muller Museum in Otterlo, Netherlands (Holland). The Kroller Muller Museum is in the middle of a national park and it holds the second largest (I believe it is the second largest) collection of Van Gogh. One of the most moving experiences I have ever had was standing in one of many rooms of Van Gogh’s work, displayed against purple walls, all of those yellow and golds in his paintings, it is simply breathtaking there.

This museum is definitely worth a trip to . . . unlike some more famous museums in Europe, there are no lines, no crowds and you can walk right up to his work (and there are other artists’s works as well – but, the most notable to me, anyway, was the Van Gogh collection). Helene Kroller Muller acquired 91 of Van Gogh’s paintings and collected 175 of his drawings as well.

Here is something Helene Kroller Muller had to say about art and about Vincent van Gogh’s work in 1933:

“Part of the intention of forming this collection was to show – to prove – that abstract art is not something insurmountable but that it has always existed. That is why you find new and older works here side by side. I meant to use the old to support the right of the new to exist.” (I like that).

And about Vincent van Gogh, whose works comprise of her collection, “His value lies not in his means of expression, his technique, but in his great and new humanity. He created modern Expressionism.”

I can tell you though, that standing in front of glorious painting after painting and looking at those brush strokes, (knowing that if I could touch it, I would be able to feel each stroke, almost like a wood cutting, but, with such intense color), that expression flowed right from his canvas and into my heart. What a wonderful experience it was to see his work. So moving. Some of it so very sad, the potato farmers – not bright golds and yellows there. But, perhaps that is one of the things that I found so compelling about the collection of his work – the incredible range of human experience – from the worst depths, sheer suffering to the brightest sunflower standing tall on a warm and sunny day.

You witness that full spectrum all there in one place. Truly a wonderful museum. I would love to take my Mom there some day.

Thinking about that today, urging my nurse to make her way from her planned trip to Amsterdam this summer to the Kroller Muller Museum – as it is so worth the trip, made me think about traveling, about making plans, about having my life back and about giving back.

I am grateful that I have traveled some. And, I really hope to travel more. But, of course, one never knows what lies ahead. And, so, today, I am just grateful that I have these places to think of, to hopefully return to and new places to hopefully discover.

This past year plus has been a different kind of journey and time of discovery – I have discovered new places within myself that I never thought existed – both good and bad. And, my friends and family, what can I say, I have reaped such strength and joy from you. I have seen my own kind of despair and definitely seen some beautiful sunflowers.

Here’s to more sunflowers . . .

Love and peace,


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