I remember the land of my childhood on the Dutch-German border as gentle and mostly silent. A peaceful land, neither dramatic nor exciting, with wide skies and clouds always in a hurry to move on. A low hill here and there hardly dares show itself, the earth is spread wide and flat and green and fertile. The observer’s wandering eye is allowed an endless supply of nourishing horizon-fare. Blossoming orchards are dotted between the lush meadows; streams, brooks and the mighty river Rhine keep all supplied with life-giving moisture. Once out of the industrial cities, small villages embedded in this landscape show off neat and tidy houses with scrubbed faces and pretty, tidy little vegetable and flower gardens. The sun’s rays are always clothed in a thin veil of silver radiance, soft mists envelop and dampen the view on all but the hottest summer days.
This is a landscape for walkers, cyclists at most. This is a landscape where rest is inbuilt, the wanderer will not tire himself or herself; a welcoming inn beckons from morning to night and there is no need for making great plans beforehand, take your time and let your steps, or bicycle, take you where they will.
Soft greens and browns of hedgerow, copse and field, pink and white blossoms, muddy ponds colonized by emerging water lilies, a tinkling stream still holding late meltwater, all these bring peace of mind; pliant earth makes walking easy and if you are cycling, there are many paths set aside especially for you. Willow trees assume their shimmering, glimmering spring coats. In the meadows black and white cows gently chivvy their calves after a long winter in the stable. And above you, if you are very lucky, invisible larks will hurl their joyful song into the canopy of the endless sky.
This Landscape is good, tender, friendly and full of little miracles. It is the landscape of May.