Colourful world

I was cycling home this after­noon when I sud­den­ly saw a huge rain­bow, shin­ing over the hous­es. After I had been watch­ing for a while, it start­ed rain­ing and I quick­ly got on my bike again. The trees along the street had adorned the gray tar­mac with bright yel­low leaves. The sun shone on it, and the col­or and bright­ness out­side remind­ed me of a song by Elly and Rikkert: “Peo­ple build hous­es of white, black and gray … but around the throne of God, there are rainbows.”

Dur­ing the past few weeks, I have main­ly lived inside, even inside my com­put­er screen. The move back to the Nether­lands and our trip to Chile means that we have to arrange a lot, and I can get quite over­whelmed by that. When I look out of the win­dow, it seems as if nature is let­ting us down this sea­son. It gets dark ear­ly, you can­not go out with­out a coat and the grass is too wet to sit on. But of course thoughts like these tell more about my state of mind than about the sit­u­a­tion outside.


This morn­ing we were in a Dutch out­door store. While we were fit­ting shoes, a man came in who had worn out his qual­i­ty boots with­in 2 years. Awk­ward­ly walk­ing about in the first pair of hik­ing boots I had ever put on, I felt more than ever an ‘inside per­son’. Until a slo­gan in the shop caught my eye: “No one is an inside per­son.” When I think about it, it’s not just a good com­mer­cial slo­gan but also a true state­ment. Once we make the deci­sion to put on our coats and pay atten­tion to the trees and mush­rooms, or just feel the fresh breeze on our face, we know again that we are out­door persons.

Cycling under­neath the rain­bow I felt wel­comed by the trees, the sun and the gen­tle rain. They invit­ed me to stay out longer. And yet, here I am inside again, typ­ing this blog. There are so many things that I ‘have to’ do, pulling me inside, inside the house and inside myself. For­tu­nate­ly, nature is patient and I can be sure that I’m still wel­come when I step out­side tomorrow.

If we can­not gauge the effect our atten­tions have on the oth­er-than-human world, if we can­not mea­sure the val­ue to bison or frogs, owls or grass, per­haps we might notice how we our­selves are opened, at least for a moment. How we, for those atten­tive min­utes or sec­onds or hours, are not the same iso­lat­ed being.
Geneen Marie Hau­gen, in ‘Spir­i­tu­al Ecol­o­gy: The Cry of the Earth’