Dreamy Bossa Nova music echoes mellowly through the buildings and among the trees. Distant sounding, as if from a memory. My housemate and I are lying on our backs on some pillows, staring at the branches moving above us. Tiny fluorescent green oak leaves are unfolding on the tips of every twig. Everything is fresh with spring. The grass of our garden boasts every possible shade of green, dotted with bright yellow dandelions and wispy pink mayflowers.
Under the gnarly old apple tree to my right, a tight blanket of ground-ivy casts a dark purple shadow dotted with its lilac flowers. The purple canopy is penetrated only by two solitary pink tulips so tall and proud that they dwarf the dark miniature forest beneath them. The apple tree itself is ripe with countless deep magenta buds. Its twisted wood, contorted by the heavy pruning over the years, make it look ancient and wise.
My housemate and I are lying on our backs on some pillows, staring at the branches moving above us
I get up slowly and wander over to the other side of the garden. I stop at a tower of pale yellow flowers, a kale plant left over from last year that we decided to spare so that it could flower this year and yield seeds for next year. Now the tower of flowers is bustling with bees, its own tiny fragile world. Above my head a pair of freakishly tall cherry trees are heavy with bright white blossom, in stark contrast with their dark bark.
Sparrows hop from branch to branch, chirping excitedly about whatever it is that sparrows are excited about in spring. Suddenly a huge overhead shadow makes my housemate and me cower for cover. Looking up with wide eyes we see it is just the imposing wingspan of the local heron a few metres above our heads, swooping in on the unfortunate unsuspecting frog population of the pond behind the house.
Our garden feels heavy with fairy-tale qualities; neither gnomes nor trolls would seem out of place
Our garden feels heavy with fairy-tale qualities; neither gnomes nor trolls would seem out of place among the roots of the trees. I am suddenly so humbled by the old magic radiating from the blackcurrant bush I was pruning just the other day – a necessary violence I would not be able to commit in my current state of awe. All of this within the journey of a few steps, and the world seems mysterious and incomprehensibly pregnant with diversity and possibilities. I feel like the tiny spectator to the marvels of a world that I no longer pretend to know. To quote the poet Szymborska:
When I see such things, I’m no longer sure
that what’s important,
is more important than what is not
Luuk Slegers is a Masters student of Sociology, majoring in International Development. He lives on Droevendaal in Wageningen with his five housemates and likes to start the day with a walk through Bennekom forest.