A green conspiracy? (An open letter)

For some time now, I have felt the stirring winds of the most peculiar type of uprisings sweeping across Wester-Amstel. Rather than a howling scream of rebellion, it has made its way to me in small growls that I hear here and there. For example, while taking a pee break in the woods the other day, I noticed that the branches around my carefully selected location (out of sight of our neighbours - of course) were hanging in a very special way, swinging towards my face as if to hit me… their movements seemed purposeful. In fact, even as I was leaving, I felt a branch try to take a swipe at me and I swore I heard it whispering, “Me too! Me too!”

The branches then seemed to find me, just as the thorns of the prickly juniper tree did the other day. I was in a cafe, of all places, when I suddenly had to pull the plant's thorns out of my hands.

Looking back on it, I now recognise that this rebellious feeling had begun spreading throughout Wester-Amstel long before my pee break or time at the cafe… For it was during the construction of the Bird Forest that we made, what might be seen by some flora, as our first mistake. We knew that in order to realise our newest endeavour, some local shrubs had to give way.

Drawing (R. Vrielink)

As we did what needed to be done, the nettles’ death screams could be heard as Ouderkerk and the brambles went to great lengths to crawl up our legs. Perhaps this is why Aleid must now kneel and cover her low-hanging beans with fabric, all in a bid to protect them from scurrying snails and pruning pheasants: a new collaboration between flora and fauna against the Park and Garden volunteers!

And our dear Carla has been dealing with declining attention from bees and butterflies for years. Why, you might ask? Because yours truly dared to put up an info sign with Tinkerbell (Peter Pan's little flying sidekick) on it amongst the butterflies… And it appears, they took my childish gesture to heart.

René, who has developed an almost unhealthy relationship with the sheep, also discovered the other day that - behind his back - the daffodils in the orchard had been stripped of their cheerfully spouting trumpets overnight; three guesses as to who was behind this act. In return, Bill and I now have the serious job of protecting the young fruit trees from those Roman nosed creatures with serious overbites. So if you ever wonder why the orchard is covered with netting, now you know.

Photo (R.Spoelstra): The guilty parties, relaxing with full stomachs

Despite our best efforts to try and make up for all the plants we cut down in order to build the Bird Forest… Despite the fact that we retrofitted a number of the estate’s bird houses to try and prevent larger birds from kicking smaller species to the curb, Wester-Amstel’s wild side was still out for volunteer blood...

The proof that Wester-Amstel’s animals and plants were still feeling spicy became clearer than ever on the day I tried to clear out the turning loop (#6 on the map).

No sooner had I worked the soil with my hoe, when I thought I heard the angry voices of students behind me… But when I turned around, there were no students to be seen. Instead, behind me the first green Sisiphus heads were already emerging from the gravel that I had just worked on! As I stared at the green shoots, I heard them clearly: “Go away! Go away! Go away!”

Now, of course, we took countermeasures. Søren planted a fan of field flowers in the former berry garden. It is doing so well that apparently you can even see it from the International Space Station! But whether or not we will be around to enjoy it is another question, as the winds of the plant and animal rebellion grow louder every day…

By: Ruud Vrielink