Coming Back to Home Ground

Skyline Deventer, viewed from one of the bridges

It has been a while since he was in these parts. He could not remember how long exactly, but it was long enough to give in to this strong yearning and go back to the river land countryside that he once grew up in.

Amsterdam is a great place to live and work in, but ever so often the small town boy inside him needed some quality time ‘back home’. To be in touch with his roots again and to recharge. He decided that this time he’d not be taking the highway all the way and get off at the closest exit, but take a scenic route for the last bit.

This would take him through woodlands with wide roads that crawled up and then sloped down the hills they were on. Further east then came the farmlands, that quite suddenly came into view after the woods changed from tree speckled meadows to picket fenced areas of cultivated green. Cows and horses grazed in them, and old but well kept farmhouses marked their ownership. Jonathan enjoyed recognizing the different coloring of the window blinds. In earlier days, big land owners marked their property by having the blinds painted in the colors of the family arms. A tradition that is still kept alive, mostly for historical, sometimes for nostalgic reasons. He owned plenty of books about the region and one of them was entirely about this phenomenon and how this came to be.

It was a great day for a drive like this. The sky was mostly blue, decorated with occasional white clouds, blocking the sun at short irregular intervals.

Driving through Terwolde he realized that it was now only a short distance till he got to see the river again. Around the bend, near a small castle that had now become a fancy hotel with its own moat, the road led up towards the dike. He rolled his window down to hear, feel and smell all there is to hear, feel and smell so close to the river. There was little wind, but the mere sensation of feeling it so close to home made it feel very special. The smell of freshly cut grass filled his nose. He felt a pleasant warmth on his arm, and he realized that he’d been driving with the airco on and thus missing a part of the reality that he was driving trough.

Beyond his expectation he was presented with a spectacular view of Deventer, the town he was born so many years ago. The skyline, made up of modern apartments nearby and nineteenth century houses behind a double row of lime trees nearer to the mediaval city with its hallmark churches and towers, was beautifully lit by the late afternoon sun. The two bridges firmly and proudly connected the city to the rest of the world, so it seemed. A very familiar sight to his eyes, but this time the view gave him a deep welcoming feeling of belonging that he had never felt before. The flickering reflections of the floating water, rippling in the soft wind, was blurred by the moisture that filled his eyes. Overwhelmed by this emotional ‘confession’ he had to pull over and stop the car.

It took him several minutes to see clearly again and get the deeper message. He said it out loud: “I will come back to the right side of the river again soon, and then I will stay!”

Empath, techie, likes to write speculative fiction