A precious alder marsh is threatened

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All journal-items with the title ‘Crystal woods’ form a whole and are part of a new project. During 2017 I expanded my research for nature and life-energy to seven woods in a range of 10 km around my living place. The Crystal-woods-journals. The Crystal woods story consists of photographs, maps and paintings. In Crystal woods — Introduction one can find global information about this project.

The word for world is forest.

Potawatomi people; in ‘Underland’ Robert Macfarlane, 2019
Ruscher brook in the alder marsh; oil on canvas, 140×120 cm, 5-2017

Precious alder marsh is threatened

This precious alder marsh is a vital part of the Schinveld Forest, it resides in between the higher sand grounds of the Teverener Heathland in the east and the valley of the Red Brook in the west. It is enclosed by a former clay pit at the west side and a deep sand quarry at the east, where sand still is excavated. The last ten years this essential part of the Schinveld forest has been threatened by logging.

Map of the old oak wood and alder marsh that is threatened by cut down

Already in 2006 six acres of forest have been cut down, so to say to clear the flight path of the Awacs aircrafts. In total twenty acres of forest that border on the alder marsh are waiting to be cut down. Noise pollution, but also emission of exhaust, kerosene vapour of stationary turning engines, that are for forbidden many years ago in civil aviation, are threatening forest and residential areas of Schinveld. And yet I experience a sacred atmosphere every time I wander about in the alder marsh. For my first encounter with the alder forest I have to go back to February 2004.

Artesian wells streaming through the alder forest in the early spring

First visit

February 2004: I did not walk yet strait through the alder marsh. I wonder why this part of the Schinveld Forest stayed out of my field of vision so long. It appears to be a wonderful forest, an undamaged unity midst of quarries, pits and an airstrip. Surrounded by high alder, some with five ore more trunks, I feel awe, and I will feel awe every time again when I enter this part of the forest. I already knew the old oak forest at the south slope of the alder marsh and I notice the big contrast between higher oak forest and the lower situated marsh with some artesian wells and currents that meander among the alder trees and spots of moss in the direction of the Ruscher brook.

A higher part in the middle of the alder march amongst small streams

A large Place of balance

December 2005: For the first time my partner and I search for the subtle energetic qualities in the alder marsh. Lidy does some observation on the spot, concerning a very powerful Place of balance comprising the entire alder marsh. A deep shank enters the earth; a sphere above the marsh is connected to the sun and the alder trees, while a sphere below the surface represents the water element.

Symbiotic birch and wild cherry that merged on a White-place

Some days later I find a White-place at the eastern edge of the alder marsh with some birches and a spring covered with fresh green grass.

Oak next to elongated hole on a solar place

At the south edge of the alder marsh I notice two holes, an elongated and a square one. They mark a solar and a lunar place. Next to the solar place grows a big oak. I have no idea in what period and for which purpose these holes are made.

Whetstone and prehistorical pottery found next to the Ruscher brook north of the alder forest
Green well; tempera on wood, 25×25 cm, 2000


February 19, 2018: Early in the morning I’m on my way to the alder forest once more, this time to locate the Black-place. The winter wood is still in rest and motionless. I follow the Ruscher brook until I reach a clearing covered with moss that I call ‘the green well’. From here I follow a track that meanders through the birch and rowan wood. At the left and right I recognise some individual trees, an old pine tree, some birches on a row with seven or more trunks. In the surrounding of the alder marsh the wood gets wilder.

I walk down the slope following one of the small current until I reach a wide band of reed. There an oak with a wavy trunk catches my eye. Right here I find the yet missing Black-place with use of the dowsing rod. For a while I sit against its trunk, looking up high along its wavy trunk, and oversee the site.

Oak with wavy trunk on a Black-place behind a group of alder trees. In the foreground one can see the field of reed that gave name to the alder march

Here I feel well

February 20, 2018: One day later at seven o’clock I’m on my way to the alder marsh again. It has been freezing. I dwell in the oak forest south of the alder marsh giving attention to all trees, wonderful oaks, birches, rowans and some smaller trees, here I feel good, as if I only now connect with this unspoiled part of the Schinveld Forest for the first time. That night the warmth of the Black-place glows in me.

In the alder marsh; water color and pencil on paper, 70×100 cm, 3-2015

November 4, 2018: Only in October 2018, as I continue working on the Crystal Wood diary, I realise that I still haven’t been able to locate the Red-place in the alder marsh. Again and again I lost my orientation as in a labyrint. I walk to the oak on the Black-place and sit a while leaning against its trunk once more. It is windstil, the leafs fade motionless.

Rectangular place with Red-place and Place of connection; two oaks growing on a Deva-place

While wandering through the oak forest I feel how everything comes together. Close to the hole with Solar-place I only now notice a hardly visible rectangular elevation. The dowsing rods here point the Red-place. How many times a walked past without seeing it. And here I also find a Place of connection!

Accomplished ground plan with subtle energetic places in the alder marsh

December 2018: I make a painting that seems to announce a new beginning: it evokes a space that sucks you in. Almost imperceptible the visible world merges into a limitless space of rhythmic waving light.

Well, orange, rose 1 en 2, acrylic and oil on canvas, 80×60 cm, 12-2018, 2-2019

You are complete

February 11, 2019: Thirty years ago I entered the Schinveld for the first time. I connected with many trees and places of concentration, longing for unity. And all these years I carried strange energies with me to feel complete. Today I walk to the alder marsh with an open mind, without searching for something. You are complete, I say to myself. Quietly I walk among the wonderful oak family on the edge of the marsh and stop for a moment nearby an oak with a wavy bended trunk, that I haven’t noticed before. The artesian wells flow again. I follow the first current and then the second, a bit more north.

Following one of the meandering currents through the alder marsh

Nameless with the trees

March 3, 2020: Although I stopped my research for triangles of white, red and black places and places of connection, I still visit these Crystal woods regularly. Once a year when artesian wells start flowing again in early spring I visit the alder marsh ‘In the Reed’. The low sunlight shines into the woods, the path is filled with pools, the Ruscher brook is a vivid stream again, it leads me into the alder marsh. At the point where I pass an oak with two trunks merged into an x-shape I follow one of the meandering currents up along the slope. Cautious I step among the capricious shaped alder trunks. Standing still for a moment in a sacred space, nameless with the trees. Then I follow the greyish brown stream up to where the water wells up from the earth…