Saturday, 30 May 2009
Out of town, out of place, out of mind
Being a dedicated city-dweller, I once stayed at a homestead in the neighbourhood of Dalfsen, a village in the wild, rural east of the Netherlands.
A friend of ours had rented an in-house apartment to prepare in relative seclusion for his grades in history, and begged us to come over and join him for a couple of days. My wife and baby daughter slept in the guest-room of the owner, and I made myself comfortable on a settee in the hall-way.
Beside the house there was a small terrace, where we spent quite some time having tea and talking in the benificent shade of a majestic lime tree. The weather was beautiful, and we really went 'rural', as we gathered fresh nettle tops, of which my wife cooked an agreeable cream soup. Its taste remembered of spinach, though slightly more delicate.
The next day, embolded by this first sally into the unknown delights of Nature's culinary resorts, I made myself a dandelion sandwich - leafs, stem, and flower, on a bed of radish and cheese, between two buttered slices of bread - and ate it to my wife's derision, and the exhilaration of our friend. They didn't care for a bite.
Once back home, I sent the owner of the house a letter to thank her for her kindness to let us have the spare room for free, and I enclosed a sonnet I wrote in honour of her splended linden tree.
The Linden Tree
The linden tree stands all benign,
Its branches spread so fair.
I love the sight of its design,
Its gentle heart-shape, debonair.
Its tender leafs enhance the blue;
With rustling voices by the breeze
They chant their merry hymns and true
In praise of heaven, earth and trees.
A charming fragrance fills the air,
Which gladly with my soul agrees:
Abundance of flowers, free of any care
Bemuse so many honey-sucking bees.
If only we would meet somewhere
Its divine essence may grant us peace.
Ronald Langereis © 1978
The magic is, the silhouette of the tree resembles the outline of its leaf, inverted...