A Christmas SAPLING

A thin layer of melting snow dampens the sound of her footsteps on the flagstones. When Reya turns her face to the sky, it feels like it is caressing her cheeks, one snowflake at a time. Melting gently, they settle on her nose and on her forehead. She licks them from her lips.
All around her, the city is quiet and grey in the bleakness preceding dawn. There are streetlamps sputtering, and shadows stirring in the darkest corners among the garbage.

Michal’s map of the city is in the pocket of her coat. She pulls it out now and then. It doesn’t take long to reach the city center. There, elegant garlands of light are connecting opposite facades.
It would be even cosier if there were a bit more people around. But secretely, Reya doesn’t mind the quiet. She recalls the city by day to be a very busy and overwhelming affair. …

An excerpt from ‘The roots of the world’ #1

Today, I will keep my promise and share an excerpt from my new book, The roots of the world.

What kind of book it is, exactly? Hm. Thank you for asking.

I don’t particularly like the word children’s book. The best stories are always timeless and ageless. They might have a minimum threshold (an age below which you’re too young to understand the story) but they don’t have a maximum one. Sometimes, you can appreciate all the layers a writer has worked into a narrative only when you are well into adulthood. …

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© Inaya photography

There are times we find ourselves falling to pieces. Life tends to have its own ways in which it forces us to embrace insight. Change. Growth.
They are rarely painless.

As a rule, we pull ourselves back together, patch ourselves up with string and band-aid. We try to resume our old shapes. They held the comfort of being familiar. A little tight-fitting, perhaps, and no longer suitable for who we have become. But familiar nonetheless.

Let’s just admit it: it doesn’t work. Not one bit.
Worst case scenario, we are confronted with rough edges sticking out from all angles, holes gaping, and we are forced into a constant fortification of weaknesses, pumping out inpouring water, propping up façades an inch from crumbling. …

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© Inaya photography

I rarely remember my dreams. Or rarely longer than upon the moment of resurfacing from sleep. But there is one dream that has returned to me several times now, in different variations, over a period of time.

One morning, in late January 2020, this is what I write on the first page of a fresh diary:

Last night I had a dream like I have had before in course of the last years: from my house, I can see an enormous tidal wave approaching, a massive wall of water. I close off the house, the windows, everything I can. I make for shelter, curl up in what seems like a protective corner. The waves arrives. …

The world will never go back to being the way it was, they say.

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© Inaya photography

From my cosy stronghold, a house consisting of a garden that’s erupting with more beauty every day, a pantry that doesn’t empty, a family I love and relatives both near and abroad doing fine, it’s hard for me to really imagine this. Or, put more plainly: I can’t.

These are Schrödinger days — days in which everything seems possible yet none of it is anymore.

There are days in which the future is dawning with the heartwarming hope of a move towards sustainability, yet every escape from the neoliberal virus that is bringing down the planet seems to have become an illusion. …


Kirstin Vanlierde

A songbird aiming to add its song to the endless music playing throughout the universe.

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