Wondering about the peculiar aspect of human behavior that seems to cherish our self-destruction, but only as a distant future, a fate that can be averted,  a future that can be shifted to be always on the horizon. Therefore our short-term gains always seem to win over our long term interests, even though we are able to imagine these long-term scenario’s, an ability that is thought to set our species apart from the rest of the living world. It leaves me a bit hopeless about our ability to “transition to a sustainable future” as the slogan goes.  I need something positive right now, gear myself up, to make believe that there is something I can do to change this strange direction in this world, where ‘intention’ seems to be enough to satisfy us, even though our actions communicate a completely different, destructive, message.

I need to find some solace in my surrounding like I always do, after all, I am in a rural place, in a beautiful old house, where the woodpecker wakes me up in the morning. He, maybe I just do the same as we all do, look at the beauty that surrounds us to temporarily forget the looming doom. Looking for intimacy.

My little village is organized radially from the central church location, my house is on the outer ring. Stepping out from my lot I enter the open field, straight horizontal horizons in all directions, interspersed with bell towers and wind mills, of other, similar villages in the region, and the view of the sea dike to the north.

The open land, the agricultural fields, the sweeping cloud formations. Whenever I step out for my much needed walks, I quickly follow my path, it doesn’t really matter which direction I go, the view stays remarkably similar, it is only a matter of wind direction, no nooks, hide-outs, enclosures to envelop me in their comfort. It feels good, yet I don’t feel the urge to halt and take it all in, it is extensive, not intimate (yet). 

I remember other places, whenever I run or hike there are moments when I want to stop, and take in the intimacy of a place, the moment.  Suddenly connected and feeling the relationship with a particular environment in an overwhelming way. These feelings are often sudden and can be quite dramatic, such as a place in Japan, a dense forest enclosure with hanging moss, I stopped and at that moment I realized that this felt like a place I would like to die. The saturated feeling of being completely accepted and integrated in the living community.

Not so in the Frisian fields, where the wind tries to sweep me off my feet. But then there is something else, wait until it gets dark.

Whereas much of the western world is bathing in light pollution, the coastal Frisian zone is dark. So dark, that on cloudless nights is it possible to see the Milky Way on the nearby islands. The scale is different, but intimate nonetheless. I remember sitting on the edge of the Grand Canyon, where I experienced the Milky Way in its full glory for the first time. I am now looking forward to dark nights and connecting to the world on this path.  Intimacy is not restricted by scale.