Monday 8 February 2021

A.L. Snijders: 'De laatste dag'

The Day of Reckoning


I walk around the room and look out the window. There’s nothing out of the ordinary to be seen, I look with my everyday eyes, it is still light. Naturally, I am afraid of the Latter Day, although I do not actually know what that means. I know Christians, Jews and Muslims, I talk with them and am not self-seeking. I regard myself as a naturally born atheist, I know that before I was born I did not exist and have a strong suspicion that after my death I will not exist either. I know that most people think differently about this, and so I do not very much like to talk about it. I do not very much like talking about insoluble problems. I phone my rich neighbour, who is the owner of a large complex of small houses on the other side of the IJssel. He is an only child and has inherited from his parents. Apart from this he has also successfully studied theology and from time to time it happens that I consult him when my knowledge of Christianity is deficient. ‘It is the Day of Reckoning, the day that God is to pass judgment on all of humanity’. That is how things are as I walk around my room and look out the window. I cannot see anything out of the ordinary, but I can hear something unusual. In the distance, a man is attempt to get his heavy delivery van out of the mud back onto the asphalted small road. He does not manage to do so, despite my help. I go over to him, I can see it would take an elephant to get him out of the meadow and back onto the road. As anyone can well understand, I do not introduce the Latter Day into the conversation. I suggest that I fetch my car and we drive over to a farmer with a tractor. I have been living for fifty years in the area, I am not an unknown figure, I know that here they call a tractor a ‘trekker’ – a ‘puller’. I fetch my car, hand him a mask and say that because of the metre and a half rule he must take a back seat. I am also wearing such a mask. The first farmer is willing to help us, but his trekker has had a breakdown. The second farmer is not at home, his wife can’t say how late he will be back. The third farmer says he will come, which he also does. It is a beautiful moment for the heavy delivery van that has sunk down to its axles in the mud. I mean, it is a beautiful moment for its driver. The farmer arrives with a huge trekker and a large, dancing dog. He pulls the vehicle out of the mud with the ease of a lover that lifts up his beloved, canoe and all out of the water. The dog doesn’t dance in vain. When it has calmed down again, and I am once again standing in my room, I no longer think about the Day of Reckoning. I stick to the good person – also a possibility.

No comments: