My solitude and love for nature guided me as kid to the ‘Brunssumer hei’ which starts a ten minutes walk from home as an old and wild landscape of white Miocene sand dunes made for summer rolls and winter sledge offs, with in between little stinky swamps where frogs croak in springtime, dragonflies’ frfrfrfrfrfrfrft sound is heard in summer and rare venus flytraps catch a late autumn fly for lack of nitrogen. Continue reading
Since being in the Netherlands at year’s end, it has been overcast, quite dark and a perfect time for vitamins from mid-winter fruits. Outside are dark-green conifers, mistletoe naked moist trees and an occasional poisonous red holly berry, while inside besides a traditional apple and some nuts, modern day fresh fruits have arrived from different seasons all over the world. Like they are concentrated under candlelight in a photo-triplet upon a tin saucer and a red marble tabletop, they remind of antique and less cosmopolitan times; as well as my patient waiting for an occasion to photograph a well illuminated landscape instead.
You like to photograph animals and must go on safari to catch them, while they sometimes come to you like they did with Francis of Assisi (Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone; 1181 – 1226, an Italian Catholic friar and preacher to animals). This happened to me 2 and a ½ times during my stay abroad. First was a cross orbweaver spider (Araneus diadematus) that made its web right into the window of my former bedroom. Seeing my pictures, my mother was quick to point out that she could not be blamed as the room itself was well-cleaned and the spider was thus actually outside the window. Second was a female emperor dragonfly (Anax imperator) that made its way into my sisters living room. While I was taking pictures my sister came home from work and I needed to release it outside, otherwise I could have had some shots in flight or even a sound recording. A ½ were parakeets tok and tuk (Melopsittacus undulatus), because they are always in their cage, although this time particularly courageous and cooperating, even if tok could still not help hiding a bit.
Now that I am walking again, even with photo gear, I do the 5 km or so connecting old and modern Maastricht, the principle city of the southernmost Netherlands Province of Limburg; wondering where I came from and where I go to, suspecting that I am a northernmost south European. With a coach I arrived from my sister’s place in the country village of Gulpen, hidden between lush limestone hills, descending the old glacial terraces of River Meuse in order to reach, within half an hour, the central station of Maastricht, Mosa Trajectum, the crossing of the River Meuse, where nowadays live some 130 thousand ‘Mestreechteneeren’. Continue reading
First they keep you tight, then let you lose and soon come the days to walk alone, leaving the garden to go behind the hedge. So, this mythical magical land is a wild, barren and forbidden zone between ours and the village behind. Along the hollow road, trains run coal day and night from mines ‘Prins Hendrik’ to ‘Koningin Emma’. You can flatten a nail on the rail as a train comes by; think off trying bolder bolts and then dream of full speed collisions with your nearby bed, hoping to wake up in time at night. But now, half a century later, the mines are closed, rumor harbors atom bombs underground; while the rail road is a bicycle path; vegetables turned into flowers as decoration replaced everyday survival, and in the end dogs followed upon kids Continue reading
Now and then, I return to native Netherlands to meet family and friends in their summer holiday gardens. This time, I started at best friends Summer Garden Utrecht, where I went to University, we used to study geology and were neighbors while mapping our Spanish lands. She used to keep an eye on both of us and one off the street; in turbulent times a beacon of stability at a table of plenty shared with daughter and sons. Continue reading