Crystal woods — Alleebusch 1

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All journal-items I wrote since the end of 2017 under the heading of ‘Crystal woods’ form a whole. In Crystal woods — Introduction you can find global information about this project.

(Photo above: The silhouet of the highest unclimbed mountain, Gangkhar Puensum in Bhutan, October 3 1991)

A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.

The Wilderniss Act, 1964, USA, By Howard Zanisher and the Wilderness society

February 12, 2021: There are several definitions of the term ‘wilderness’. Wilderness is not only an appearance in the physical landscape, but also part of the mental domain. Maybe my Crystal woods journal evolved out of a longing for ‘wild nature’? In the Netherlands there is no wilderness anymore. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why I want to express the life-force that is hidden in nature? That is the spiritual unity that unfolds and becomes visible in ‘wild nature’, but at the same time is omnipresent potentially. And isn’t this the source out off which mankind can recreate the world in harmony with nature?

At once it was in front of me, Sacred mount Chomolhari; egg tempera on canvas, 80×190 cm, November 1991

Wild nature: a still virgin mountain top

Bhutan, October 3, 1991: One day earlier for the first time I discovered the jungle of the Bhutanese high mountains. On my way to the monastery village Phajoding at 3700 m altitude, the small footpath stops at once. I’m surrounded by a chaos of branches and enormous trees with long beards of lichen. With a lot of noise a group of golden langurs falls out of the branches. That night I sleep in a blackened kitchen surrounded by mice and donkeys.
By the first beams of sunlight I climb up to a ridge, hoping to be able to catch a glimpse of one of the five mother goddess mountains of the Himalayas, mount Chomolhari. While Phajoding is still covered in deep shade the sun explodes and the sea of clouds covering Thimphu valley ignites. And while I’m getting higher the clouds in the depth elevate too. At the moment I stand still to wonder about the shiny white dome of Mount Chomolhari at the northern horizon all around the clouds are catching up with me…

Thimphu valley seen from Phajoding, at the left the trapezium shaped Gangkhar Puensum massive, the highest unclimbed summit in the world; water colour on paper, 26×57cm, July 1992

In 1937 during the first climb a statue of buddha has been placed upon the summit. Since 1993 it is forbidden in Bhutan to climb mountains higher than 6000 m, out of respect for the sacred meaning. This is why the sacred mountain has been climbed later only a few times from the Chinese-Tibetan mountain site, a much more difficult climb. During my mountain walk in 1991 I also made a photograph of a distant massif, the Gangkhar Puensum (7570 m). Only recently I learned that it still is the highest and unclimbed mountain in the world. The journey I made in Bhutan inspired me to search for the sacred landscape in my own vicinity…

Forgotten natural sanctuary

Lets turn back to the Crystal woods. When I go for a walk I sometimes follow the ‘Rode Beek’ to the west, sometimes to the east, where the Alleebusch forest has often been my final destination. It’s a place where one can overview the wavy cornfields, while standing among the oaks in the eastern edge of the forest, and where silence seems to be slightly deeper than elsewhere.

The seven stem oak in 2002
Map of the eastern part of the ‘Alleebusch’

Nineteen years ago I drew the first map of the ‘Alleebusch’. On it I also put an oak with seven stems that grows where the path leaves the forest in the direction of Gillrath. During my walks to the ‘Alleebusch’ I always visited this oak. Meanwhile only three of the seven stems has been left. It appears that these stems has been grown out of a much older trunk. In 2003 here my partner Lidy once ‘saw’ the commemorative picture of a circle, consisting of nine trees that once formed a sanctuary. I also drew two Iron-age settlements which I found in the book ‘Archeology im Kreis Heinsberg’ (W. Pieper) and two U-shaped walls (cult places?) that I examined on site.

Earth Rombus Trace; tempera on top. map on wood, 70×50cm, Februari 1975; the territory fenced in by wall and ditches called ‘Landgraaf’ and ‘Alleegraaf’

The ‘Alleebusch’ is located upon a sandy elevation that is marked out in the north and northeast by the valley of the Rodebach, and in the west by the canalised Krümmelbach. The name of the forest is distracted from an old wall and ditch, the ‘Alleegraaf’, running south from the ‘Rodebach’ across the ‘Alleebusch’. As on other locations the surrounding of this ‘Crystal wood’ is disrupted by the landing strip and military area of the AWACS base in the south, and by a former quarry with chaotic, young afforestation.

The ‘Alleebusch’ in purple at the utmost right; the primeval mother in between the ‘Rode Beek’ and ‘Geleenbeek’, the backside area framed by ‘Landgraaf’ and ‘Alleegraaf’

Landscape of primeval mother

When I studied the altitude lines of the valleys of the ‘Geleenbeek’ and the ‘Rode Beek’ I suddenly saw the outlines of a fertility goddess. The backline is formed by the ‘Landgraaf’, a 27 km long landmark running parallel to the Rode Beek from the highest hill in the south to the lowest wetland in the north. And after several hundred years it still separates the fertile culture area in the west from the infertile land in the east, the backsite, presenting the subconscious site of the landscape.

Localizing the ‘Alleebusch’ triangle

April 24, 2018: In the early morning I bicycle to the chilly ‘Alleebusch’ to complete the image of the female triangle there at last. The Black-place I already found at the seven stem oak some years ago.

In 2003 I found a black triangular boulder and in 2018 two red brown boulders at the Red-place

When I focus on the Red-place the dowsing rod points to a strip of wood saved in the farmland. I wonder why this strip never has been plowed. In 2003 I found a triangular shaped, black boulder. When I arrive at the spot I notice a big triangular boulder (I put it upright for the photo) and a smaller triangular stone, both red brown.

Oak on a Black-Maria-place

Then I cross the forest from north to south approaching an oak that catches my attention from a distance, and that I recognise as a so-called ‘snake line oak’. What an appearance!

Oak on Black-Maria-place, behind that the oblique oak

Green flow

Along this track my attention is called by some holly trees and a enormous number of oak sprouts. I count eighty! As I close my eyes I feel taken in by a soft green flow that I call a ‘Green flow-place’. I associate this place with the image of an endless field of flowers and the continuously ands abundantly creating energy of nature. Hopefully a future image for this forest too.

Endless blooming; casein tempera on wood, 110×100 cm, March 2014

I also see an oak somehow separated from the other trees standing oblique and in its own space without any undergrowth. Here, in the centre of the female triangle, I presume a yang place, but also the PLace of connection. But this time I stick to my presumption, realising that the life-energetic image that I can comprehend as a concept can only be a fraction of a very big and immeasurable reality. Merging into the peaceful space created by the oaks is more than enough.