|Just in the pines on the heather. (And grass!)|
|...eventually Hoefke 5 got a portable phone...|
|Oom Just, Grootmoeder, Sander and Jeroen at het huisje.|
|Cousins Just and Adrian, hanging out in het huisje.|
The van Lidth de Jeudes are an interesting family. And by this I mean the particular group of van Lidth de Jeude's who are descended from my Grootmoeder (the cottage in Riel comes, after all, from her uncle, Gerrit Kuijk). Maybe we're unusual in our humour and propensity for speaking frankly (not always a good mix), but we're also adventurous, and thoughtful. There's a strong interest in working with or traveling on the land, as well as an intellectual side. There has also been some attrition from the homeland of the Netherlands, but very little where Riel is concerned. In the van Lidth de Jeude family there is a deep authenticity; a rejection of class and stereotype. Well, in fact, there are certain uncles (and to some extent my own father) who like to strut about in their noble heritage, smoking pipes and serving cookies on ancient delft plates; wearing sweater-vests and drinking jenever elegantly. But these men all seem to suddenly shed their shirts (and sometimes everything else) when the opportunity to use chainsaws, burn brushpiles, and just generally get dirty in the woods presents itself. And it finally occurred to me that this may come from Riel.
|Heather: Maya, Emily, Just, Floris, (Allard & Marianne in the top right corner).|
Riel is a place where we celebrate life: We play ridiculous games and rituals that feed into our lovely family sense of humour, and we lie down in the heather fields. We run through the sand and the brick roads and the forests. It's a place to drop the pretenses of European society. And Europe has a lot of pretenses. Maybe that's why my father escaped in his early twenties into the BC forests, coming eventually to this island on the pacific coast. I suspect he came here to get out of the pretentious European lifestyle, with its classes and customs and expectations. He came here to be real. And Riel is still in him. His humour is intact, and his relationships, and... he has a veritable rhododendron species garden.
And lucky for us of the next generation, Riel's acorns and chestnuts and beechnuts have planted themselves in our souls, too. We can't live but to look for the changing of the seasons, and to celebrate everything. We play the ridiculously silly games of Riel all over the world, now. When I once asked my 3-year-old cousin, Sander, when his birthday was, he said he didn't know, but he would know it was coming when the snowdrops bloomed. What more is there to life, really, than this?
Riel is a place for people to be authentic; to connect with the family and the land and life, without pretenses. We try so hard to make everything seem shiny... but sometimes in the bare authentic little gatherings of people just being themselves, we find real happiness.
Look deep into nature,
and then you will understand everything better.
This is the legacy of Riel.