Autumn is not my favourite season. Summer is.
I have to admit, however, that colder days have a charm of their own. I feel it when I go out on a crisp day, wrapped in a warm coat, a comfy scarf around my neck and shoulders. I take a few steps and some sort of magic happens: the smell of my perfume in the cold air, the sound of crunchy leaves at my feet, the blessing of sun touching my face. It’s a fresh and reassuring feeling.
Amsterdam is made for cold days, no doubt. As much as I love it in summertime, when the conviviality of people having dinner in front of their homes is contagious, it is the cold days toward the end of year that bring out the best of the city. On such days, I could walk aimlessly for hours, chasing sunlight, and letting thoughts fall naturally into their place.
I might have moved here on a Summer day six years ago and befriended Amsterdam right away, but it was on a cold November night, one year later, that our shallow friendship transformed into something more meaningful and profound.
On that particular night, I was a sad girl in a black leather jacket, sitting on a bench by the water. Leidsegracht corner Keizersgracht, Saturday evening. Still not used with the silence and emptiness of my own apartment, following the separation from my ex, I craved for the feeling of inclusion. I needed to be outside, to see people on the streets, to see the city. Amsterdam seemed to understand this and had its own ways of reassuring me that everything was going to be all right. All I had to do was look around and take it all in: the arched bridge at the right, the smiling strangers on their bikes crossing it, the majestic houses across the water. There was beauty left in the world, after all. Life was not over. That was the moment Amsterdam and I bonded.
Cold days bring back this memory, time and time again. And although I replaced leather jackets with coats in the meantime, and I have a house to call home now, I still share this intimate connection with Amsterdam and, from time to time, I feel like going out for a walk, just to be with the city that knows me so well.