art musings travel

Around the World in 80 Days: Day 66, Forest Walker

Perhaps it was because it was so cold when I arrived that I didn’t get outside for a walk until yesterday.  It got up to 75 and it was marvelous.  I had been anxiously watching the weather forecast for days with plans to walk in the nearby forest.  I first went to my grand overseer’s house to ask which direction to walk.  (I don’t have regular phone service so google maps won’t work if I want to plan a route.)  Josien and her husband Peter warned that it was easy to get lost in the wooded area to the North and to try to listen for cars on one of the larger roads if I did.  I felt confident that I would be just fine.

Earlier, at Josien’s late-night birthday party (where everyone was at least 10 years older than me yet my bedtime is shamefully hours earlier than theirs) I met a local artist, Jan van Ijzendoorn, who designed and carried out a site specific sculpture for a nearby area.  (The site is in Dutch but go look at it.  He’s a busy, busy man.)  A paper mill in Renkum was torn down and the land it occupied has been made natural once more.  Jan designed a sculpture commemorating the place so I began my walk with his work.

While I know this is Dutch, it feels like some word scramble I’m supposed to work out.

Nice shadows.

Here’s the sculpture Jan is responsible for.  It’s based on paper going through the rollers.  He designed the whole area though, including the landscape.  I’m going to take a guess that the structure that this sculpture is embedded in a part of the original paper mill.

A window in the wall that has a very Asian scroll feel to it.

The other side of the wall.

A close-up of the bricks.  You can see the nice wavy carving into the wall itself.

Overgrown path behind the wall.

Other side of the paper roller sculpture.

A nice water feature with double millstones.  Also Jan’s work!  A really big commission.  Jan is famous and well respected in the area.  (I’m sure he’s well respected everywhere.)

Half a kilometer away, it’s time to venture into the forest.  These mushrooms seem to signify that the scenery is about to change.

Mmmmm.  Forest.

I love the thick canopy of leaves over the tree lined road.

A well traveled dirt road leading into a thicker forested area.

It didn’t take long to see how easy it would be to get lost out here.  There were paths everywhere!

Green green growth underfoot.

What could be down this path?  My imagination did have a chance to run wild here.  I envisioned fog obscuring the end of the tree-lined tails.  I wondered about people traversing this area long, long ago and what their fears must have been.  I saw how easy it would be to hide and ambush someone here.  On that note… I didn’t really feel too unsafe here.  There were always people at one end of the path or another.  Rarely a solo traveler though.  Hmmmm.

On that note, I began to wonder what kind of wildlife I could plan to see or be mauled by.

Lush green sludge in a rut left by a tire.

Some of these trees are impressively large.

Another path.  I love the path photos, can you tell?

One of my favorites.

Looking above.

A paved path.

I kept coming across these very dense and dark spots.  My damn camera kept adjusting the light to make it brighter.

This one should also be dark.

An unusual group of trees.


Here you can see a mysterious life-giving tree nipple.

This was super dark.  I’m telling you.

This is closer to how dark these dense areas of forest could be.  It’s about 4:30 in the afternoon with plenty of light.

Oh hey look!  A dangerous forest creature!  I hear the younger ones are more venomous than the adults.  (Totally untrue when it comes to snakes though…)

This was actually a group of tame deer at a big retirement home for the elderly called Oranje Nassau’s Oord.  (Site in Dutch.)  There were a lot of elderly people taking strolls or being pushed in their wheelchairs around the grounds.  I wondered how often they’d run off and get lost in the forest.

Lots of benches placed in the middle of nowhere out here.  It’s nice to stop, slow down, take in the area around you, and breathe the fresh air.




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