Umber, marigold, apple blossom white. Teak, East Indian rosewood, mahogany, dark walnut. My round table, a bit too massive to be comfortable, a piece of my own Dutch still life. Fine linen cloth, a broken, sophisticated shade of indigo. Coffee or tea? Exclusive porcelain set, ivory white, translucent, fragile. With a fine golden stripe around the rim. Green tea and jasmine. Lilies and peonies. Another set, ethnic, coarse; cups made of thick clay, keeping the coffee warm; clay incense burner with a matching pattern of fine, dancing strokes of white and red. Another linen cloth, Bedouin brown; I mean, the shade of a Bedouin tent made of goat wool, with a darker stripe; umber would be the standard art colours denomination. Contrasting pleasantly with bright orange marigolds. A grain of Omani frankincense with the coffee. Cardamom.
Rose-ringed parakeets, feral, nesting on the tree behind my window. Fresh vegetables from the Saturday market. That sort of large, flat bean pods that are probably called Romano in English, but that I usually call by their Spanish name, judias; nonetheless, when I go to the market in Leiden, I just say: alsjeblieft, al-fasulya. The stallholder could be a Turk after all, but al-fasulya never fails; perhaps the Arabs don't know its European name, either. Coriander, parsley and mint for my salad, distributed just like in Morocco, three in one, just one euro to fill a plastic bag. Blueberries. Fish. A slice of lamb. Quail. Cheese, just to see myself a solvent citizen in my own Europe. White wine to fill the tall flute bought in the gift shop at the Rijks Museum, an exact replica in light bottle green glass.
All concepts incarnate, become material and earthly. Truth is reachable, palpable, consequent, accountable. No need of abstractions suspended in the void.
A single petal falling from a rich rose blossom, captivated in its flight. They usually interpret it as a symbol of tempus fugit. A memento mori. For me, it is a symbol of life, of a plenitude of time that can only be achieved there, in the Netherlands. A rose petal contemplated in its fall, the velvet quality of time. The glossy silk of silence.
The only homeland worth cultivating, the only colours worth defending. She was a great Dutch patriot, they will say at my funeral. It doesn't matter who you are born, it does matter what you truly believe.