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Walking Away from the Headlines
I had returned to Deventer, that charming historic city nestled in the heart of the Netherlands, my favorite base for walks in nature. Today started as a serene Sunday morning, the streets still echoing with early morning tranquility, and a gentle drizzle fell on the cobblestones, making them glistening works of art.
I walked into a quaint café where the air was filled with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, mixed with the smell of a Dutch rainy day that always reminds me of my school days on a wet autumn day after we returned to class from our games in the schoolyard. Moments later, I sat down at a dark oakwood table, savoring a cappuccino that could rival any I had this summer in Spain, France, or Switzerland. I caught up with the world news as the caffeine ran through my veins.
Amidst the cozy ambiance of the brown café, I stumbled upon tales of those who wielded power over nations but behaved like bullies in a schoolyard, their policies dripping with corruption. I read about the insidious ways the mighty attempted to twist the very laws meant to restrain them into tools for personal enrichment. There were stories of the wealthy amassing more wealth while floods ravaged the lives of the less fortunate. The victims of ineffective leadership floated downstream while arms deals were negotiated at the highest levels.
As I pondered these headlines, I couldn't help but shake my head. I had read this all before, a recurring narrative that had echoed through time. I closed my news apps, its contents too disheartening for a morning such as this.
Turning my attention to the digital snapshots I had taken the day before, I ordered another coffee. I looked for the elusive white butterfly I had captured in pixels. Only then, in that quiet café corner, the world beyond seemed to fade into the background, leaving only the delicate details of nature's wonders in the provinces of Overijssel and Gelderland at my fingertips. As often before, focusing on small-scale beauty pushed big-scale ugliness to the background.
I left the café when the rain stopped, and a watery sun tried in vain to pierce through the clouds. I walked without much of a plan through unfamiliar streets and stumbled upon colorful hidden gardens. The lanes, adorned with pots of vibrant flowers, breathed life into the city's veins, and cheered me up. Strolling through the old town of Deventer is also a moment to enjoy the city's rich architectural diversity.
As so often before, walking was the best antidote to the world's woes. For me, the simplicity of a coffee and a croissant, or the discovery of hidden beauty amidst urban chaos, reminds me that life's true treasures often evade the headlines. This Sunday morning in Deventer was the start of a beautiful day that promised more than the bleak stories splashed all over the internet.
This week, I will close the summer season editions of The Planet newsletter, with its lighter tone and a focus on words, images, beauty, and travel. It was a long summer, and it's time to widen the perspective to the planetary scale that the name of this publication suggests.
I'll miss the bubble of positive summer life. Returning to the autumn concept may be the painful reality check I experienced while reading the news this morning.
Let's face the planet's challenges together, because acting together is always a good start.
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