Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mining Flint. Old Story with Modern Topics

I guess it's not completely your cup of tea but I am impressed by our smart 'homo sapiens' ancestors. They were effective, efficient, used fallback scenarios and worked as a team. Sounds pretty modern, doesn't it?

Let's go back in time. 6,000 years ago our ancestors worked together in mining flint in Rijckholt-St Geertruid. In a part of the world we now call The Netherlands. They dug shafts with a diameter of 1 metre. Until they arrived at the level (around 4-12 metres) with the rich flint chunks.
There they gathered the flint in galleries of maximum 8 metres deep. No deeper because the sunlight doesn't shine any further. After gallery 1 they dug gallery 2. Gallery 1 was filled with the debris of gallery 2. Gallery 2 with 3. Gallery 3 with 4. And gallery 5? This gallery was left empty as an (extra) escape route for shaft 2.

What did they harvest in these prehistoric flint mines? Flint! Upstairs the big flint chunks were knapped with hammer-stones into useful smaller, tradable, ready-to-use chunks. These chunks travelled as raw material sometimes hundreds of kilometres and were manufactured, on the spot, into useful flint tools: knives, axes, scythes, scrapers, pierces, arrow-heads, etc. Sounds pretty modern, doesn't it?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Don't Squeeze

Time slips away. Most of the time we are not aware of it and trample time, light-heeled, with our bird's feet.
Remember? As told so many times: I'll never put you - meu melro - in a cage behind a door. Just sit down in the palm of my flat hand. I'll talk sweet to you and enchant you with whatever I can think of: words, books, poems, pictures, food, wine, dreams or ... - there must be more. You can fly away whenever you want to. I'll not squeeze. Feel free to come and go. Fly birdie. Fly! And drop in whenever ...

What more to say than listen with you to this beautiful song from Tom Jobim: 'Fotografia'
Eu, você, nós dois
Aqui neste terraço à beira-mar
And there's always a song to tell that old story 
Aquele beijo 
Aquele beijo

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Chicken for Sunday's Lunch

Blackbirds, sparrows, pigeons and magpies. Sometimes a few rabbits. These are the animals of my childhood. The center of the world was our schoolyard. Close to our house. The place where we played soccer, hide-and-seek, tag and many games with names I can't remember. Next to the schoolyard, separated by a huge beech hedge, was the cemetery.

We were not allowed to but most of the time the cemetery was part of our extended playground. For us the cemetery was the place of old and buried people. And the place of birds and rabbits. The schoolyard was for us youngsters.

I am convinced that growing up next to the cemetery caused me to see that dying and death is natural. It's not a strange and dark world. Not a world apart. Not something to be afraid of. It's just the place behind the hedge. Warmed by the same sun. Getting wet by the same rain. For the birds, rabbits and us kids just a place where we could play.

The schooldays of back then are gone. Partly stored in my memory with the sepia of golden days. Since then my brother found a hole in the ground of this cemetery. A few rows behind him 3 generations of my father's side of my family. Last year we buried my mother-in-law here. And one day I'll be buried there too.

P.S. Last weekend I finished reading Clarice Lispector's book 'Family Ties'. I was not flabbergasted. I guess for the biggest part because my expectations were too high. I will re-read this book within 1 year. This first time I was too greedy to read the stories. In a way I was not able to adjust my way of breathing. Too greedy. 
I loved the story 'The Chicken' very much. (The only story of this book I loved.) It was the chicken for Sunday's lunch that escaped. After being caught the chicken laid an egg. That saved her life. "The chicken became the queen of the household. Everybody, except her, knew it. She ran to and fro, from the kitchen to the terrace at the back of the house, exploiting her two sources of power: apathy and fear.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mixture of Blossom and Ipanema

This morning I was drinking coffee under my veranda. Watching the clouds: grey and full of rain. Every now and then a little sun: warm and cosy. Windy. I looked at the blossom of the shrub behind the henhouse. No idea what the official name is of that bush. I call it: "that shrub with small white balls". The wind had blown away quite a lot of blossom. 1 week ago that shrub looked perfect. And now? Now it's over the top. The shrub was only perfect for about 14 days. 14 days and not one day more.

I guess that it's this emotion that makes us 'homo sapiens' (all of them? only after a certain age?) filled with saudade when we look at blossom, cherry blossom (Japanese 'sakura') and girls like Helô Pinheiro (the original 'Garota de Ipanema'). Beauty. Light. Mature life. On its top! At the same time realizing that life is short and that youth and beauty fades. On its top but for how long?

Monday I met a female colleague - a very beautiful and mature one ;) - I hadn't seen for more than a year. We chatted a little. Out of the blue she told me - it was something she wanted to tell me a couple of times before but never did - that I was "special" and "so not-Dutch". I was (better: am) "though", "direct" and at the same time "not a blunt Dutchman". There was something "mysterious" and "exotic" in me. Who ever told us that males don't like compliments? I felt very honoured! :)

P.S. Don't be jealous. There's no need to.  I felt very honoured. She made me feel special. At the same time I realize that I'm over my top and that I'm comfortable with that fact.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

You Know

#NotInTheMood ... - you know. [Skip] the subject.

While waiting for the arrival of Clarice Lispector's book 'Family Ties' I started, last week, reading two books (in Dutch) on #Breivik for background information:
  • Eildert Mulder, 'Anders Breivik is niet alleen' (March 2012)
  • Jan Jaap de Ruiter, 'De ideologie van de PVV. Het kwade goed en het goede kwaad' (March 2012)
I'm convinced that mixing and mingling of different cultures, religions and races is good and inspirational. A guarantee not to get frozen as individuals, society or country. Breivik's persistence on claiming that he did the Right Thing by killing seventy-seven people in Norway made me push on the [Pause]-button. Did I miss something? Am I too brainwashed? Did I fall asleep? What is my blindness according to the new knight templar Breivik? 

Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood. What do I have to understand?  According to Breivik  the Muslims are emigrating to the western world with the aim to destroy Christianity and establish a Muslim state. The Muslims are nice, considerate and pose no threat but are actually using 'taqiyya', this is concealing their belief and aims. What to do next in Europe, USA, Australia and in the rest of the western world? Can we still be saved? Via democracy? Answer: No, too many brainwashed people. Via institutions? No, takes too much time. There is no time left! According to Breivik there was only one solutions left: terror. That's what he used  on July 22, 2011. It was a wakeup call and call to action. Wake up! Act! The rest of the new knight templars (and 35% op the people who support this cause) will have to bully, deport or kill the Muslims. Before it's too late.

I pushed on the [Pause]-button again. 

Then to be understood. Breivik's wakeup call did not convince me. According to me, he is frozen on Muslims. It can't be true that Islam is only totalitarian, violent, immutable, uniform and incapable of reform and democracy. In the end we all want the same: a happy family around us and be merry with our friends.