Copyright The Cedar Journal, 2020, all rights reserved.
I did mix Dutch and English a bit in this title. I played with the two languages and a play on the words time and thyme (a garden plant). Hopefully it didn’t confuse my readers too much.
We headed out on Friday (the Hubby took a day off, he is working from home so this time outside of the house was needed. It felt like a day off for both of us) to Aalsmeer to the Historische Tuin (Historic Garden) where I normally volunteer each summer.
As you might have guessed normal is not normal and volunteer work is also affected. The issue with gardens that depend almost solely on volunteer workers to maintain the areas is that the garden (nature) doesn’t know there is a lurking virus. The workers (volunteers) are mostly over the age of 65 and thus puts them into the high risk group. Since I have underlying conditions that could also place me in a higher risk group, I contacted the manager in early March and told him that I would not be coming to volunteer until the rules were relaxed a bit.
That started to happen today. All grade school children to age 12 went back to school! Could you hear the sigh of relief from parents? The Dutch ministry is going step by step on reopening the country. The biggest near future issues that need to be solved will be with public transport, the aviation industry, and large events like soccer games or music concerts.
I made an appointment to tour the garden and take some pictures for this blog. Being the only one (with the Hubby) inside the gardens was a real treat since we haven’t been out much since this all started in March. The gardens have been working with a small skeleton crew of regular volunteers since the Prime Minister shut the country down. Some activities like the yearly plant sale were cancelled. But, like I stated, the garden continues to need attention and I was ready to see how bad things were with the limited work force.
I was surprised! It wasn’t the normal for this time of the year but it was in great shape considering the limits that were placed on this institution with the start of the virus.
Here are a few of the pictures of the gardens as it looks right now. There is not a date as of right now if or when it will be opened to the public, but when it does I would like to ask each of you (if possible) to visit.
As we finished with our photo tour the Hubby and I ordered “take away” coffee and scones from the Historische Tuin Restaurant which has had to find a new way to keep in business while still maintaining social distancing. We enjoyed the backdrop of the Aalsmeer windmill and watched the boats on the canal as we sat on the bench outside the Historische Tuin. It was a perfect outing for a day off of work in these strange new times.
A special thanks to Historische Tuin Garden Manager, Dick Maarsen who approved my afternoon of photojournalism at the Historische Tuin. He and his team of limited volunteers will continue to maintain the gardens until they reopen sometime in the future.
© The Cedar Journal, 2020, all rights reserved.
Not the most original title for this blog. I guess I am getting lazy with my blog creativity. I promise I will do better.
A couple of weeks ago I got the virus cabin fever. I just needed to be anywhere but locked in the house or in our garden! Thank goodness and the Dutch government for not completely locking us down. I got on my bike a rode like a crazy lady trying to escape the cops out of town and into the countryside. So happy to work off some of the anxiety of being locked away without the freedom to do what I want when I want to do whatever whim hits me. Immediately as I got into the countryside I felt better. The wind in my face, the flower fields full of blooms next to the bike path and air I could breathe without the fear that someone else might have polluted it with a virus exhale. No worries about the grumpy old man that lives next door, the neighbors kids that play soccer against the fence making so much noise that it pushes my PTSD to the limits and scares the heck out of my hens. Just me, the bike, the fresh air, and the scenery of the Dutch countryside.
I rode along a road I know well in Lisserbroek. Lined with large farm houses and old nursery/greenhouses owners that keep the yards as well groomed as the flowers in those buildings. It is one of my favorite rides close to home.
As I came to one of my favorite houses along the route the owner was out working on his large beautiful garden. I stopped and asked if I could take some pictures of his yard. He said sure and invited me to cross the canal that separated us and to walk into his yard to “get closer and better pictures”. I was gob smacked!
“Really?” I asked thinking how kind in this time when everyone I had met recently was full of anti-social behavior due to the invisible threat.
“Sure, walk up around the house too, there is plenty blooming there for you to photograph.” He answered.
So I started taking pictures.
The beauty of kindness is that it knows no boundaries. Knows no threats. It fulfills the emptiness of others. On that day this kindness was what I needed and the universe showed me where to find it! Thank you universe, thank you garden owner with a beautiful and a kind heart.
©️ The Cedar Journal, 2020, all rights reserved.
I started the day with my hands in the earth. To feel a connection to what we came from and what we will return to at the end. The rich earthy smell of well composted dirt. The grainy feel of the worm litter dirt, the pounding of the rock hard dry dirt that has resulted in the weeks with no rain.
Dirt gives the nutrients to the plants and the earth knows exactly what plants will grow for each kind of dirt.
I am working on a new volunteer project now that my plans for my normal volunteering has been interrupted. Just like dirt, I can change.
There is a local Biological garden that is within walking distance from our house. When they turned tulip fields into a park several years ago a group of local people envisioned a local biological garden on some of the park land. They received approval from the local government and started the work.
I was a fan from the start and watched as the volunteers transformed it into a beautiful productive huge garden that first year. They sold the produce from the garden to anyone who wandered in from the parks trails.
Part of the original garden was a small garden that was created from brick with a tree in the middle.
Each morning for about a week now I go and get connected to the Earth. I pull at the weeds, beat the soil loose from the clumps of really hard dirt that has suffered from the lack of recent rainfall, I feel the freedom and silences of the early morning in the garden. I meditate on the current crisis and the people I love with my hands caked in dust and dirt.
I hope on this Earth Day my readers were able to do the same. There is one sure result from this current situation. The earth will survive, the dirt will continue to be dirt and nature will heal any damage us humans have inflicted upon it’s wonderful surface.
©️ The Cedar Journal, 2020, all rights reserved.
I can hardly believe that this week flew by and I didn’t get another post written. I have been so busy here. Nope, I haven’t caught up with all the NETFLIX shows or been reading all those books that are stacked next to my bed that I had collected the last time I was in the states. I have been busy in the garden, watching the chickens to make sure the two escape artist stay in the confined area until the Hubby gets to the “Honey, Can you do this?” list.