Sunday 1 December 2019

ALS: 'De natuur'


The land round my house is being left in the lurch. By me. Nature is taking over. I know a lot of people who end up leaving their house because the garden gets too toilsome. I’ve never understood that, nature is so easy-going, nature is everywhere ready to take over from humanity, nature is truly our best friend. On one occasion I paid a visit to a man in the sparsely populated eastern part of France. He was a friend of my father’s, he lived there on his own, his wife had died and, on closer consideration, he found he didn’t get on well with his children. They were fonder of the town than they were of him, and that he probably found easier too. He noted that the ideas he had always nurtured did not live for ever. At the time of my visit he was eighty and I was fifty. His house had been completely pinned down by nature. The path from his door to the road was the only exit, about fifty metres. He kept it open by means of a chainsaw – an overground tunnel had come into being. He knew he was dependent on that saw. When he was no longer able to wield it, his time would have come. I didn’t ask him what that experience would mean in this particular case – mumbling away with other oldies in a House of Mercy or a self-chosen death. After that visit, I have never visited a foreign country again. I believe that there are many things you have to stop doing while you are still alive – travelling is one of them. The land around my house is visited by deer. I don’t see them often, but I know that they’re there. The times I have seen them, they have had a young deer with them. It’s a pleasurable idea that I live in an invisible house where a deer imagines its offspring is safe. I don’t play any loud music, I have a car that is scarcely audible, I don’t buy any fireworks to celebrate the New Year. In the distance I can hear some go off, but that too will stop when nature finally and inaudibly has won the battle.

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