Aelbert Cuijp on the Couch
The wind says: “Hurry up, leaves. I’ve got work to do.”
Fat red cherries, oranges and lemons bursting, falling. You ride home counting trees like traffic lights. An October afternoon going dark.
Red one. Green one. Red one. Yellow one.
School-kids appearing on bicycles from between parked cars, playing freely. The lanes here slowed down. The trees bringing traffic to an attentive crawl.
When the walls moan, home-owners leave their shelters to witness the seriousness of the wind, to remind themselves there’s still an argument. They contemplate carrying on as normal: trip to the store, fill up car with gas, walk in het bos —
— Nature. The madness and painted beauty. Complete unconcern. Uncompromising acceptance of what it does to earn its name and all the adjectives we list after it. Our honorary and defiant descriptions: Saint Darwin. Do not be afraid to speak its name, the season’s name. It comes, anyway.
From my balcony the trees look like skeletons standing somewhat dumbly in the courtyard below, naked in the elements. The pigeons and doves have lost their privacy. You see them perched in pairs on limbs black with moisture, saying nothing. Only a low hum of companionship. The white-noise component of assurance.
When the evening comes, like any good Dutchman, I light a few candles to ward off or to welcome the spirits. A mix I’m unsure of, a game played on faith —
— Candle. Universal declaration of peace and intention. Bright flame opening. Concentrate of surrender. Almond-shape of hope. Seer in darkness. Warmth distilled.
I set the TV out and listen to the season fall on the rooftops. The heater in the hallway clicks. Black arrow on plastic dial makes its intention clear: 20 degrees C, that’s where we’re headed.
Through the window, clouds pass by outside like great ships in a blue harbor. Aelbert Cuijp sits next to me on the couch, a blanket over his bare feet, making some new, quick sketches to take back to the grave.