A Walk in the Polder
Some families spent their Sunday's going to church, we didn't, we took a long walk. If the weather was particularly good we would bicycle. Well, more specifically my parents would bicycle, to some new place to explore at leisure. This was a particularly bright and sunny day in the middle of summer. A real scorcher by Dutch standards. I rode with my father in a child's bicycle seat, one that would have been met with gasps of disapproval by today's standards. It was black metal and red vinyl and collapsed when not in use. Moms bicycle had a large wicker basket in which the family dog rode. Not one person we knew well owned a car, there was always those days a very small number of motor vehicles comprised mostly of the cheapest of Citroens and Volkswagen bugs.
I could smell that we were coming closer to the sea, it was in the air. Sea gulls screeching with delights as their extended wings caught every warm air current, endlessly gliding along. Everything here was either sand coloured or sea green. Only tall patches of grass broke the very flat landscape, all of it an extended quilt of sandy lifeless polders and squares of grass, just occasionally a patch of houses. One such patch of houses was Spijkernisse. There were no new buildings like the ones in Hoogvliet where we lived. Here the air no longer reeked of the refineries. The quiet here was quite shocking to the system. Our normally chatty family was just now silent, we were blending in, at one with the calm.
We came to the very edge of a brand new polder, not a building, a road, or even a blade of grass, nothing. There was only packed sand dotted by small stones and decaying jellyfish. Seagulls were diving for any small thing that moved. As I was being lifted out of my kiddy seat...
the whole story at www.aletta.org/sparrowweb1.shtml#Walk_in_the_Polder