We’ve been having a spell of warm, sunny weather here in Utrecht, although from the looks of things, we’ll be back to cool and wet by the end of the week. But at least it’s summer-like weather for the last big holiday until the end of the year.
We’re celebrating Pinksterdagen today and tomorrow, which coincides with the US Memorial Day tomorrow. Memorial Day is usually thought of as the beginning of summer, which often means lots of grilling and days spent by the pool. I’ve been feeling nostalgic for the pool we had in our last house in North Carolina. Floating in the lovely water and enjoying the feeling of weightlessness was one of my favourite things. I could go to a public pool, but it’s just not the same. The quiet peacefulness of our pool, surrounded by a forest of greenery really was idea.
I also miss sitting on the swing on our back deck, while we cooked ribs on the grill, combining smoking, braising, and straight grilling to get the best ribs ever! We still grill occasionally, but it’s not quite the same. Fortunately, we do have a nice terrace that allows us all to sit out and enjoy the summer sunshine.
This week I went back into my archives for a texture-related photo and decided to explore a bit of the texture of architecture, specifically buildings that I came across living in the southern part of the US. I liked revisiting bits of architecture that are a little different from what I see now.
This first building with it’s rough-hewn, splitting wood, and rusted tin roof, surrounded by feathery flora, is a shed/cabin that I passed regularly when I last lived in Greensboro, North Carolina. It was a small building in the middle of fields and woods, just across the street from a few houses. If nothing else, it’s a change from the tightly packed urban city center I live in now.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is this beautiful house in Savannah, Georgia. It’s definitely a city house, but it brings a bit of the country into the city. It’s a riot of texture with the highly decorative iron railings, smooth wooden shutters, and ivy-covered walls. Gone are the smooth walls. They’ve been replaced by the tactile fabric of flora. I always want to run my hand across these living walls.
Nope, no explosions here. Boom is the Dutch word for tree. Unfortunately, it’s not pronounced the same as it is in English (more like bome), but it’s still a fun word. I’ve always liked trees. I’m not weird about it or anything, as Tom Waits would say; I just like the way they change depending on the season. Bright and colorful in spring and autumn; cool and green in summer; stark and majestic in winter.
The thing is, with only a few exceptions, I rarely know the name of any given tree. I’m an admirer of nature, but on a superficial level. I know nothing about where different types of plants and trees grow or any other important information. Sometimes I wish I knew a bit more of the technical info, but that urge usually passes quickly.
Fortunately, if I want to know about any tree here in Utrecht, there’s an app for that! (Well, there’s a website.) It turns out the Gemeente has put together a bomenkaart (tree map), with information about every tree they’ve planted here in the city, including its scientific name, its location, and even the year planted! I know that some of the trees in Zocherpark on Lucasbolwerk have little plaques with some of their information listed, but not every tree. I imagine if you’ve got some tree allergies, this information could be quite useful.
For the record, only the first photo I posted here was actually taken in Utrecht, or even in the Netherlands. The rest of the photos were taken either in our neighborhood in Greensboro, North Carolina, or in the mountains near Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’ve been feeling a bit homesick for North Carolina in the spring, with all the azaleas and dogwoods, and even the stinky Bradford pear trees. Hey! Look at that! I do know some plant/tree names!