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Steps (1): In the rustle of the leafage i want to live.  [nederlands]


Sometimes i want to be a bird: that i could go anywhere, without boundaries, and see the world from above purely by the power of my wings, without having to be too much of a part of it. That is of course a romantic delusion: birds are also part of our world, and their lives are a succession of struggle and danger. In addition, i would not like to be closely monitored by hordes of internet viewers during the mating and breeding season. While as a human being i also like to watch birdlife.
Maybe i should be happy that i still have two reasonably well-functioning legs and that gets me quite a long way.

Pre-disease and pre-pandemic i went out regularly: by rail, then on the paths, then on foot into the lanes. And so one day i found myself in a country estate not far from the coast. It was a beautiful walking day, not too hot, not too cold, it was dry and the sun shone finely tempered by the lavish canopy under which i walked. It was quite a long walk, and i was glad when i spotted a tavern between the trees. Unfortunately, it was full of chattering guests, which did not suit my completely relaxed state of mind, so i did a little toileting and went back into the woods. And suddenly there was the belvedere, placed on a platform, with a fairly long staircase leading up to it, very idyllically placed high among the foliage, a few streaks of sunlight over the angular facade.


[text goes on beneath the image]
A six- or octagonal building on an artificial hill in the forest, with a long staircase leading to the entrance, surrounded by many trees, with some streaks of sunlight across the facade.

I quietly walked upstairs. As i ascended, the rustling of the leaves around me increased. When i reached the top, i examined the small room: along the walls were a few benches, with name plates from generous donors who had paid for the restoration of the little palace. I took some pictures and sat down to listen to the rustling leafage.

In my house at the time i could also have enjoyed rustling leaves for a number of years, but one of the trees had fallen in a storm, and another had been illegally stripped of its entire crown by the housing association, and now that this noise could be heard again, i had this overwhelming feeling of oneness with the Earth, the Universe. I missed it, and mused about how i'd live here, or maybe apply for an art residency, and then spend days here drawing all the leaves and taking a hundred million photos of all the shades of light coming in and out, and everyone and everything that would pass by .

While i was so musing, i saw a man coming up the stairs. He took his time. He greeted me friendly when he came in, seemed a little out of breath, and sat down. While rolling a cigarette, he asked me if i minded he smoked. The door was wide open, so i gave him his way. We got to talking, which makes sense when you're sitting in a belvedere with the two of you. I was still working at the biK at the time, and it soon turned out that before his illness got worse (he had problems with his lungs), he was a good acquaintance there. He talked about old books, his own writings (he once did something like a professor in economics), and his shortness of breath, and of course he indicated that he shouldn't smoke, but he couldn't help himself, and he wasn't allowed to do so much already and why blame him. After his cigarette he descended again, on his way to the vegetable garden of the estate.


[tekst loopt door onder afbeelding]
View from the belvedere of the stairs down, from which a path leads into the distance into the forest, with the man on it.

One might find it strange: dragging your body up a flight of stairs a few times a week so that you become short of breath, and then smoking a cigarette, only to descend again to the mundane. But who once appreciates the rustling of the leaves, is prepared to do or refrain much for it.
It's time for me to move.

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DatumTijd: 2023 may 14, 14:20 CET
Auteur: Mulder

Tags:
 belvedère 
 breathlessness 
 estate 
 forest 
 rustle 
 stairs 
 steps 
 trees 
 walking 

Indexes:
 Photography: Hannah Celsius 
 Steps (overview) 
 Stories: Steps 

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