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Month: April 2019

Into the mystic

Into the mystic

Smell the sea

And feel the sky

Let your soul and spirit fly

Into the mystic

                                              Van Morrison

Into the mystic

I was looking for a song or a quote to let you know how I experienced the next walk when I stumbled upon a song by Van Morrison called Into the Mystic. These few lines exactly express my feeling of today. Today is Saturday, and we are going to walk between the Hague and Kijkduin. It is a bit of a special day for me for today my sister is going to walk with me. She is fully recovered from her meningitis and already training for a 50km walk at the end of May. I am so proud of her!

Maart roert zijn staart 

There is a saying in the Netherlands: maart roert zijn staart (March is stirring its tail) and it means as much as you can expect…any kind of weather in March. It can rain heavily, it can be very windy but it can also be beautiful weather with the sun shining. Sometimes it even snows in March. No matter which month we are in, my day mostly starts with sunshine; sunshine in my head and sunshine in my heart. 

Forces of nature

Another thing that makes my day sunny is the knowlegde that within an hour and a quarter I will meet 13 other Peakers and a tiny little peaker boy. We are going to walk through the dunes and over the beach. How awesome is that? Totally different than the walks we did before.

To me the sea has something mystical. It brings back memories of my youth. We often used to go on an autumn holliday to one of the Frisian Islands. Standing on the beach while there was a huge storm going on, that’s when it felt mystical. On the one hand I have a deep respect for the force of nature of the sea, and on the other hand the feeling there is more between heaven and earth. The sea has a lot of power and can do awful things to us, and there is nothing we can do about it. Stormy water can be very dangerous, but the howling of the wind and the rustling of the waves towards the beach make me humble and respectful to a force I can not control.

Standing on the beach looking at this huge pool of water with nothing as far as I can see also gives me a feeling of freedom. It’s the same kind of freedom I experience when I’m at home, looking across the fields with nothing in sight for as far as the eye can see. There are no limits, nothing that blocks my view. I let my soul and spirit fly. 

Today’s host

Our host for today is Brenda. I first met Brenda in Glasgow, but I really got to know her last year when she helped me with my last piece of my puzzle. Together we changed my food pattern, and she helped me losing  weight. I had not felt so well in a very long time. All because this beautiful woman showed me how and guide me along the way. And today she is going to show us her backyard. Brenda lives in the Hague and through the dunes she walks us to Kijkduin. Most of you might have heared of Scheveningen, some of you might have been there. Today we are walking in the opposite direction. In every way Kijkduin is smaller than Scheveningen, but they say that is also its charm. From Kijkduin we walked back over the beach to the Hague.

Peaker conversations

The most precious thing on our walks is meeting new people, new Peakers who just like you like to walk. Embracing those you already know and even those you get to know for the first time is special. It’s that feeling of really getting to know each other, sharing not only the courtesy calls but a real conversation. I try to learn a different side of each and every one who joins the walk. Every trek I get caught by the stories people share with me. Sometimes it’s about work, sometimes about our families, and that what’s connecting us. But we also discuss what’s on our mind, problems with health issues, feelings, whatever needs to be talked about.  And when you walk several walks together I can assure you there is enough that connects us, not to mention MPC. 

Today I talked, amongst others, with Heleen. Heleen is a new Peaker, and she has a rather odd job. Instead of making vegetable plants better she makes them sick. She does that on purpose!

The ones that survive form the basis for the next generation of plants. She keeps on doing that until she is satisfied about the resilience and all the other qualities. When they are satisfied with the results, they are able to make all kind of new varieties of carrots, onions or cabbage for farmers all over the world. I had never heard of it and found it very interesting talking to her.

Also with us today was Debbie. In October 2018 Debbie gave birth to Benjamin, and he is really the Benjamin amongst us Dutch Peakers. Debbie lives in the Hague and thought it was a good opportunity to go and walk with us today. If it did not go well she could stop, take a bus and go home. I admire her strenghth, for she did not give up and walked with us all the way, every one of the 14,5km (9 miles). And this cute little boy, warmly hidden within her coat, never once gave a sound until we stopped.

Let your soul and spirit fly 

On the beach the wind was stormy. It was almost impossible to turn around and see where everyone was. If you did, you had to protect your eyes from getting sand into them. But nevertheless the views were amazing. Just before we left the beach to head back to the dunes to walk the last miles, it started to rain.

Luckily when we finished, Brenda treated us to a nice bowl of pumpkin soup. It warmed us from the inside out. With the warmth of the soup, just looking around me to this wonderful group of people, I still could smell the sea and feel the sky, and I let my soul and spirit fly.

All pictures are made by Ellen Overman, Brenda van Wegen, Linda van den Ham, Vera Koning and Antonette de Groot (Amfion)

Scare away the dark

Scare away the dark

Sing, sing at the top of your voice

Love without fear in your heart

Feel, feel like you still have a choice

If we all light up we can scare away the dark

                                                                        Scare away the dark/Passenger

Scare away the dark

Winter is coming to an end, and spring is knocking on the front door. I have a strong urge to listen to songs that express that feeling of spring coming. I like to sing at the top of my voice, for life seems so much more beautiful when the sun is shining and you realise that it’s a blessing when you’re happy and healthy.

 Why am I sharing this with you? I realise that being happy and healthy is not something we can take for granted, for at this moment, not everybody has a chance to see the sun. They live in the dark. They don’t want to but they have no choice. Something awful happend to a family member of one of our Dutch Peakers Walkers. And choosing to live in the light is not really an option for them at this moment. But maybe if we all light up we can scare away the dark for them just a little bit. Having said that I’m going to take you on our third walk.

Someren

Today we are in the region of Brabant. When we did my challenge last year, every Dutch Peaker who joined me had to drive a long way to walk with me, some of them even drove for two hours. This year we are walking all over the Netherlands, and it is my turn to drive. For this walk in the region of Brabant, I had to drive an hour and forty-five minutes to reach my destination, a little village called Someren.

 Someren is a place in the middle between Eindhoven and Venlo. But be aware Eindhoven is situated in the region Brabant and Venlo in the region Limburg. Although both regions speak with a soft “g,”  there’s a large difference between the two regions. What they do have in common is that they are both celebrating Carnaval. Both do it in their own way, with a lot of tradition and habits.

Carnaval

As we are walking, Carnaval is only a week away. Today I walk and talk with Petrie. Petrie lives in Venlo and tells me a little bit how they celebrate Carnaval at her place. Four weeks before Carnaval starts in Venlo, there is what they call Boeremoosball. I actually don’t know how to translate this for you but I think Barn Dance is the closest I can think of.

During this Barn Dance the engagement of a wedding couple is celebrated, and the couple who got married last year show their fresh born baby (it’s all a large outdoor play) to demonstrate that their marriage has been fertile. The wedding couple for this year will be wed on Carnaval’s Tuesday, better known as Fat Tuesday. And you know what? Our Petrie is a real Carnaval partier, for she only slept three hours last night. She had a masked ball, and now she’s walking with us. That’s the real Peaker Spirit or should I say, she is just a little bit crazy?

The Lieropse Moor

It’s a beautiful day to walk, the sun is shining, and some of us are even walking in MPC2019 t-shirts, fresh delivered in the last couple of weeks. Walking in your t-shirt at the end of February is really an exception. Our first break was at a cosy little restaurant where Ellen, our host for today, treated us coffee or tea with cake. Ellen celebrated her birthday the day before. She turned 60 and is going to walk the West Highland Way with her son this year.

 But we did not drive all the way to Someren just to enjoy a nice cup of tea and a piece of cake.

After leaving the restaurant we walked through a forest to get to the moor. The first thing that came to my mind was this moor is totally different than the one I saw a couple of weeks ago in Drenthe, or perhaps is it just because of the beautiful weather today? Me feeling so much better then a couple of weeks ago? When we walked just  little bit further we stumbled upon a place where you could birdwatch. It was a rather large cabin where we had a wonderful view over the Lieropse Moor.

People in hiding

Again I’m surprised by today’s walk. In the middle of the woods, not to been seen if you don’t know where to look, are the remains of a  hidden village. It’s called Kamp Dennenlust, a camp for people in hiding during the WWII. These people in hiding lived here from the 28th of December 1943 until the liberation on the 21st of September 1944. They stayed there because they initially tried to evade what was called “Arbeidseinsatz”. People, mostly men between the age of 18 and 35, were forced to work in Germany during the WWII. Stumbling up to such a place always makes me remind me how lucky we are to live in a free world. It silences me.

With a smile on my face

I told you that the weather was extremely good this day, so we could eat our lunch out in the field and enjoy the first warmth of sunshine. My mother was a big admirer of the sun, not that she did a lot of sunbathing, she didn’t have to, because she got her tan only by being outdoors and sitting just for five minutes in the sun. When winter was done and February started with a little sunshine, she always got a chair, put on her coat and sat in the corner of the garden, letting the first bit of sun on her face. It’s that moment in February that reminds me of her, and it puts a smile on my face.

Being aware of the fact that these few lines of a song don’t mean the same to everybody and nuances are being made, I drive home that evening singing at the top of my voice because I want to love without fear in my heart and with a feeling that I have a choice. And if it might just help one tiny little bit, I light up and scare away the dark for those who need it.