Friday, August 11, 2023


South of the town there are bogs and fens. And, seeing as it's in the Netherlands, north of the town too. As well as to the east and west. But the ones to the south are far closer. The local folklore holds that there is an entire Spanish army buried in the mud, as with the weight of their armour and weapons they could not traverse the soggy terrain and got stuck.
That would have been about four centuries ago.

Some people say there are Napoleonic soldiers there as well.

Think of a typical Northern European peat bog.

A shadow at the edge of your subconscious, lurking, just waiting to leap out at you.

Four centuries ago the climate was colder, so there was no malaria. Just the ague. Which it turns out, was actually a strain of malaria, though not recognized as such. It's very Edward Goreyesque country. One expects an old glue factory with child labourers on the edge of the Great South Swamp. It's also an exceptionally beautiful area, great for walking along the footpaths and dirt roads that course meanderingly through it. A wild bird reserve.
When I was a teenager I'd go there after school, to smoke a pipe or two in peace. Especially at the end of summer or in early autumn. Even in late November if there was only light rain. Strong tea afterwards, and the fragrance of a balkan blend perfuming the air. The smell of a soggy peatish bog is rather tannic, vegetal, mildly fermentive, faintly rotten.
There are copses of pine and scrub, reeds, heather.

For some reason I've had that aroma in mind recently.
A profound stretch of sensory confusion.

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