The reason hid in a distant place / De rede was ver te zoeken

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the beginning / het begin
on the way / onderweg

Only after crossing trenches / and brooks, and raising / fallen trees upright, // followed by rubbing out / the dirty ground from narrow eyes, // and by calling loud: “I’m alone!” // motion started behind / the bushes.

Slechts na oversteek van greppels / en kreken, en het rechtzetten / van omgevallen bomen, // waarna de vuile grond uit geknepen ogen / werd gewreven , // en door luid te roepen: “ik ben alleen!” // kwam er beweging vanachter / het struikgewas.

wide canal // brede sloot
deep laying brook / diep gelegen beek

One thought, it is a goat, / fastened with ties and anxious, // the other believed to perceive / a superior power.

De één dacht, het is een geit, / vastgebonden en angstig, // de ander meende, een hogere macht / te ontwaren.

But something unmentionable / crept forward: “reason evades an explanation.”

Maar iets onnoembaars kroop / te voorschijn: “de rede laat zich niet verklaren”

Wheeling

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There came a day that the car needed a new wheel and we walked in the neigbourhood. The camera was in the backpack not for long.

in need of repair

This was a typical area of trade and operations, and in between there was a small area of bushes and trees.

invite for a moment of rest

Small spots of green (nature?) amids urban environment, easily brings surreal experiences.

co-existence

Buildings and trees share a relation with height.

aside

These are trees, the Dutch call ‘Acacia’, but wikipedia says Robinia pseudoacacia, or ‘false acacia’

nature looks at apartments in high buildings (8 stocks)

And looking one direction, an endless green nature expands for about 60 meter.

survival

While the other way, preparations to build new quarter are under way…

Wirixstraat

And, the destructive nature of humankind is visible in this trolley

victim number 22

It is not good enough, to steal and leave such lorrey, no, it must be smashed…

urban trees

Can trees survive without buildings?

wheeling

The walk brought the aim of our trip, in a different format.

red, light, windows, reflections and bicycle

The last minutes of the time we had to wait, withing the dealer’s compound.

A different tale

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The day of December two thousand and twenty, started with haze and drizzle, that kept some sort of lock over the day.

Still, face covered with mask in the train, we went to the city of Amsterdam, to visit the museum of photography ‘Foam’. Rarely do I make photos of photos. But there are other elements. My photos taken in the museum are given below, together with a few from the journey back home.

stubborn element (detail)
stubborn element (whole)

Now more than in earlier times, there is the need for refreshment of air within buildings.

grate for air vent (one)
Grate for air vent (two)

The artist Jan Schoonhoven might have found inspiration.

Grate for air vent (detail of one, B&W)

Somewhat hidden, there is a call for connectivity, dating from more than half a century ago.

electric wire and plugs

A crack in the window captures the focus.

crack in the window, museum Foam

Outside is different, but the view is still influenced. And strong light placed near historic facades of homes deviates the focus.

two lights near historic facade

While looking outside through the train windows, images are mirrors of movement.

speeds blurs the view outside (one)

There was no storm, just a train passing.

speed blurs the view outside (two)

Growth and decay: experience in a sun resort

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Early autumn 2014, we stayed for some days in big Sun Resort in Greece (Halkidiki, Macedonia). The economic crisis of 2009 had been tempered, but the effects were still visible. Expansion of the resort that had started about eight years earlier, had stopped around 2009-2010, and rapidly, structures that were not finalized got in part demolished.

view from unfinished building to the port and hotel of sun resort

This building stands on the south side of the port. From behind the open, unfinished form is seen. From the harbor, the appearance is ‘better’. A screen suggested a finished structure.

building on the edge of the port, from behind

A little further a second, longer unfinished building.

under construction

A room of this second building contains stacks of chairs and tables. To the left, again, screens have been placed on which the appearance of a nice finished building is depicted.

furniture

A look from inside through such a screen shows only abstracted forms.

screen in abstraction

A small, intimate setting.

two tables, one chair

A bit further away from the big hotel and port, attempts to remove old buildings and replace these with new ones, have been suspended. Digging has created a temporary pond.

reflections in time

Note the historic remnants of original dwellings.

past and presence got stuck in time

As part of the expanded sun resort, an open movie theater was created.

on the agenda “Ben Hur”

Other play and fun places were installed, but had been abandoned for some time: good for memories.

all what is left…

Now, November 2020, an even bigger crisis has started. This week, news about first effective vaccine against COVID19 arrived. However, expectations are it will take one year or longer, to treat people at risk, which concerns most of us.

No surprise, that situation at this sun resort has remained much the same, in as far I could discern today from examination of google earth map of the area.

Take care, be carefull you all,

Drager, 12-11-2020

Growth and decay / Groei en verval

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In autumn, of all seasons, the co-existence of growth and decay is most palpable.

In de herfst, van alle seizoenen, is het naast elkaar bestaan van groei en verval het meest tastbaar.

A mycelium of mushrooms feeds and decomposes plant material into organic matter vital for growth of other life.

Het mycelium van paddenstoelen groeit op en verteert plantaardig materiaal in organische materie, die vitaal is voor ander leven.

The form can be delicate and tiny (1)

De vorm kan delicaat en klein zijn (1)

The form can be delicate and tiny (2)

De vorm kan delicaat en klein zijn (2)

The form can be delicate and tiny (3)

De vorm kan delicaat en klein zijn (3)

Sometimes shape is complex and huge

Soms is de vorm complex en reusachtig

Growing in a row

Groei op rij

The color grey

De kleur grijs

The color yellow

De kleur geel

The color red (and white)

De kleur rood (en wit)

Suillellus luridus. Easily mistaken for Boletus Satanus or Devil’s bolete (Rubroboletus satanas), the latter being poisonous.

Suillellus luridus. Kan verwisseld worden met Boletus Satanus or Devil’s bolete (Rubroboletus satanas), waarbij de laatste giftig is.

Growth started and even before a mature form was reached, decay started. A fixed condition becomes fluid.

Groei begon en zelfs voordat een volwassen vorm werd bereikt, startte het verval. Een solide vorm wordt vloeibaar.

Variation in matter

Verschil in materie

Up to the next story

Verder naar het volgende verhaal

Message to suburban elements

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In order to divert your obsessive thinking about poor developments in the world order, close your eyes and ears, and take note:

What’s up there?

What’s there / up there?
just look, and think:
why?

Now that you are attentive, consider this:

Itching

Thre thre thre / dam ach sto gho per /

sell Rome never / sell less than ever /

you say words / just that /

words that itch / just that

empty mouth / movements

in vain action / of jaw muscles

The solution will not arrive from understanding, but acception might.

Clear water

Clear water is essential / in the acception of future events /

even if dark elements take control / over our movement /

and our experience gets blurred / by our inability to understand /

time / as the power of movement / and standstill.

Do not take things as these are, but start by improving yourself

Cracks in cohesion: changes in rural life in France.

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This impression was written in 2017, edited 2020

Up until about thirty years ago, villages in France each had their ‘alimentation*’, ‘boulangerie’, boucherie and one or more cafes. In larger villages – as in cities – there was also the ‘quincaillerie’.

Elder men sat on benches smoking pipe while looking at others playing ‘petanque’.

Alimentation in Les Plantiers, (Departement Gard,) about 1980, postcard

As prehistory tells, the earliest humanoid presence in France dates from > 1.5 million years. Up untill 5.000 years ago pockets of human inhabitation consisted of small settlements. In the neolithic period (circa 4500-1700 bc) agriculture was adopted, with parallel development of appropriate tools to work the land and store produced foods. As such, potteries became established. Settlements increased in size.

The following era’s were defined – in archeological terms – by the metal that dominated in tools (and ornaments), with iron, copper, followed by bronze. A major change occurred with the colonization of France (‘Gaul’) by the Roman Empire, of which period many remains are still scattered across the country.

With industrialization in the 19th century the rate increased at which urbanization occurred – with people departing from agricutural regions, a process that continues up to today. Examples of ‘villages abandonnées’ are found all over France’s rural areas. In some regions erosion added to the abandonment of villages.

Abandonned village in The Provence, ca 1980, photo DM

In addition, there occurred the devastating effect of “La grande Guerre” (WW-I), in particular in the north of France. Whole villages were destroyed to the ground, never to be rebuild. In the area above Verdun several of these destroyed villages (‘villages detruits’) can be found. In villages that survived – which ever the size – memorials were raised incised with long lists of victims.

Mort pour la France (Grancey le Chateau, Dep. Côte d’Or) photo DM 2017

However, despite the fact that grenates and bodies were being dug up for decades after the war, life gradually resumed it’s normal course.

Farmer ploughing, Haute-Marne, photo DM 2017

Society in these areas for most of the 20th century still can be defined as people with their connection to their family, work, village, the church, the school, and trade at markets and shops. For travel – if not by car – many railways served to link villages and cities.

Gare de Veynes-Devoluy, (Dep. Hautes-Alpes), photo DM 1997.

Now in 2017

Many villages no longer have their ‘alimentation’ or even ‘boulangerie’. People must go to large shopping centers on the outskirts of larger cities.

Abandonned bakery (‘boulangerie’, in Langres, Dep. Haute-Marne), photo DM 2017.

In small cities like Langres, the same pressure closing smaller stores exists, but the population plus tourists serve to maintain the economy of others.

Boulangerie Maison Gallien, Langres, photo DM 2017

Yet, even in Langres this nice bakery, “Boulangerie Maison Gallien” is threatened with closure, since neighbours – unlike in previous times – now complain about the noise of the bakery at 4 o’clock in the morning. (sign on door: “Nuisances Sonores – une boulangerie en difficulté”, or “Noise Disturbences – a bakery in problems”, post from Le Journal de la Haute-Marne). Likely, ‘modern city people’ working from 8.30 till 17 hours, tolerate less than earlier inhabitants.

Many railroads have ceased to exist. Schools have closed or are threatened with closure. The ‘cementos’ of society crumbles. Foreigners (mostly dutch) buying houses for use during holidays stop decay of abandoned houses to some extent, but leave emptiness during many months in the year.

Grancey le Chateau-Neuvilles, Le Pavillon (Dep. Côte d’Or) . Abandonned railway station and former track. photo DM 2017

Perspective

The sometimes exorbitant prices of houses / appartments and of living in large cities such as Paris, plus the unhealthy environment (pollution) and the increased number of retired people are all factors that lead to a move out of these cities towards the country. The existence of rapid trains supports this option. For retailers of small shops, however, future remains uncertain.

The presence of places of interest, like former Abbey of Auberive, now also Museum of Contemporary Art (focus on ‘independent art’) helps to maintain enterprises such as Boulangerie – Alimentation & Café de l’Abbatiale in Auberive. (Departement de Haute-Marne)

Boulangerie – Alimentation & Café de l’Abbatiale in Auberive, photo DM 2017

Note, added June 1st 2020

The COVID19 Corona-virus pandemie, that also struck France heavily, and led to a lock-down (including inability to move freely for > 1 km from home) for more than 2 months, might stimulate a move from the city to the country.

*translation of terms

alimentation: food shop

boulangerie: bakery

quincaillerie: hardware shop

© Drager Meurtant, 2017, 2020

Snow in the High Moors / Hautes Fagnes / Hohes Fenn

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A return to the country visited as a kid led to Hautes Fagnes / Hohes Fenn or the High Moors, in Belgium.

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In the eastern, German-speaking part, close to Eupen, presence and memories mingled

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Thursday February 27th, winter arrived, a rare guest this year

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The snow creates silence, when it falls

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Most sounds in the landscape are absorbed, and trees bear heavy white loads, branches bent

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A shed is a hide-out for memories

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And only when the snow is melting, returns the sound of water

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Nearby, dripping from branches or roofs, at distance, the sound of the rivulet running down-hill

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the stream soon retarded and widening into a bassin

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Then leaving around the corner

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Text and images (c) Drager Meurtant, February 2020

Bahnbetriebswerk Bayerischer Bahnhof

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With railways becoming the most important means of transport over land in the 19th century, repair units also had to be established.

Already in 1842, a repair unit for trains was established south of Leipzig (Germany) as the “Bahnbetriebswerk Bayerischer Bahnhof”.
Build in a half-circle, the repair unit allowed several locks to be examined and repaired.
During the second world-war, heavy damage was suffered, with some units repaired after the war, untill around 2000 it was no longer was kept functioning.

Now, kids can play with skates, and grafitti artists take the opportunity to decorate the abandoned place.

Bahnbetriebswerk Bayerischer Bahnhof

Turning circle allowing trains to enter different sections of the repair unit.

 

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“Hush, perfection has no name”.

 

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The inner state

 

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Broken windows (the cat’s view)

 

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The circle and the pitts

 

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A laugh at a time brings mircacles

 

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The crane to lift

 

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Heating

 

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Transport of paint tubes

 

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At the turning point

 

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“Hola”

 

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Unit to steer currents

Feathers and cones / Veren en appels

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Feathers and cones

What drives the wheel

to move around

to the image

to be seen,

the words

to appear in ink.

Just three feathers

amidst the cones of

cupressus sempervirens.

 

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Veren en appels

Wat doet het wiel

rondgaan

naar het beeld dat

te zien valt

de woorden die

in inkt zichtbaar worden.

Slechts drie veren

temidden van de appels van

cupressus sempervirens.

 

(photo in Edessa, Hellas, May 2019, poem January 2020, (c) Drager Meurtant)