I love nature. Earlier this week I read an article about poppy fields, sown everywhere in Flanders, to commemorate the 100th ‘birthday’ of the First World War (http://deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws/binnenland/1.3001548).
On the map added to the article, one poppy field turned out to be nearby my place, and I thought it would be nice to go and take a look. So yesterday on my way home from a job I drove to that field. I had searched the address on Google Maps. The exact address did not appear, since it was a field and not a house, at least I knew the street name. I thought to myself that it would not be too hard to find because a field full of poppies would be difficult to overlook.
I drove through a lot of small, beautiful inland roads and came across the street with the field. But the street had only houses, and no poppy field could be detected in the wider vicinity.
I turned around, determined to try it one more time. Five minutes later I parked somewhere outside the center along the road and started Google Maps on my smart phone. The location finder worked but Google maps itself did not appear on my phone. Living in the countryside has its disadvantages.
I tried again, but suddenly a voice appeared just next to my head causing almost a heart attack – I had opened the car window because it was hot inside -asking what I was doing and if he could help me.
The voice belonged to a man with dirty pants, hair stiff of the dirt. From where did he suddenly fall out of the air? For a crazy moment I thought, ‘he cannot do anything to me because I am in the car and he is outside’. I certainly I have been for too long in Central America, where people are frequently robbed on the street at any moment of the day.
I apparently had been doing suspicious things on my cellphone, at least in his eyes. While searching the signal I had inserted the phone several times in the air. Pretty ridiculous I know. But for the man who appeared to be working across the street in the company, it was enough to think I was an explorer for future burglars. Something like that. He muttered that the company he works for had suffered a lot of burglars lately. Leaving in the air that maybe I could be the next one.
I said ‘yes you are right, you cannot be careful enough these days’, forgiving him in silence his suspicion. Benefiting from the moment I asked him if he did not know the place I was looking for. No, he never heard of it. ‘Should you meet someone there?’ he asked and I said ‘yes’, embarrassed that I was to tell this guy I was looking for a poppy field. ‘Do you have a name of the person’, he insisted and I answered ‘no’, because I can not lie. What was enough to get him suspicious again. I was looking for a place nearby to see someone I did not even know who that was? Yeah, right.
To make a long story short, I did not find the poppy field anymore yesterday because I ran out of time and had to go home. Maybe I’ll go back tomorrow, because a poppy field is really nice to watch.
In the meantime I enjoy watching the poppies on my terrace and read the poem of “In Flanders fields” van John McCrae:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Major John McCrae – 1915