In the eight years I’ve lived in Northern Europe, I don’t think I’ve taken one good picture of it.
The problem, I’ve concluded, is the flatness.
Not just the low altitude. Even at its postcardiest, the land here seems to merge with the water, then with the sky.
Last year I read this Stephen Jay Gould essay where he talked about how the human mind is designed to notice variance over constants.
Like how the roar of a waterfall is ignorable, but a drippy faucet, a fly trapped in an empty room, is unbearable.
It’s easy to come up with examples of this in hearing, but harder with seeing.
Lately I’ve been trying to explore my surroundings more. Get out of Berlin, bike quaintward, see how northern Germany looks after the freeways thin out.
I wish I could say I’d discovered some hidden gem, a town, a forest, rich in history, poor in gift shops.
But I really really haven’t. Everywhere you go, it’s water, land, sky, different amounts but always the same mixture.
Back home, the scenery makes you feel tiny. You’re a speck on a mountain, a dot in a lake.
Here, it makes you feel tall, like you’re the only punctuation in a long sentence.
Maybe that’s why all my pictures all look the same. I’m used to looking for the drip, when everyone around me is listening to the roar.