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Home, Das Leben des Baumes des Lebens

Liesbeth Doornbosch – 05 June 2019

"The news depresses me," my son once said when he was only twelve years old. "Innocent children in refugee camps, how can we help?” I told him I found it just as difficult. We then spoke about having a proper home, as well as feeling at home. And about not having a home and having to flee your home to hopefully be safe somewhere else.

Now that he just turned nineteen and is about to start studying architecture abroad, I asked him if he remembered any of our conversations back then? I handed him a small black notebook which my dad gave me when I left home to go to university. It was my Granddad’s, and it begins with the first tale of a Children’s fairy tale book he once started but apparently never finished.



Das Leben des Baumes des Lebens
A fairy tale about suspense

Once there was a little girl called Anne. She lived with her parents and three brothers in a beautiful villa in a forest somewhere in North Germany. Every early morning and late evening Anne would sit on her swing which her dad hung underneath a majestic chestnut tree. She shared all her thoughts and adventures of the day out loud while going back and forth underneath a roof of leaves.

But, would you believe, one day the tree talked back to her! One of the first things it mentioned was it felt sorry for her because the tree needed to advise her on how to live a life as a tree. Anne, on the one hand, surprised by a tree talking to her and on the other hand scared by the fact the tree addressed her like a tree. But because her mum told her never to be impolite, she replied by asking why the tree thought she was a tree and felt sorry for her?

It answered it was about to outgrow its branches, roots and system, and that it would die soon. It felt all its leaves suffering and complaining about the big evil and windy world. The tree was told to find someone who could help soon by finding a new home and soil which perhaps could save its life.

Anne again mentioned she wasn’t a tree but a little girl with three brothers and a mum and dad. The tree kept on rumbling and speaking about its difficult but beautiful life and how it guessed Anne would grow from being a young and alluring tree to a monumental and grandiose family tree. But if she wouldn’t be brave enough, she would end up, as well as the tree, dying soon.

Anne didn’t at all understand what the tree was telling her and mentioned she would ask her father to see if he could help the tree. The tree exploded and aggressively shook its branches in all its directions, and Anne was swung back and forth so fast she began to scream out loud but firmly held on to the swing ropes, it was as if she was glued to the wooden board.

Unfortunately, one of the ropes broke, and Anne was walloped to the ground, the soil broke open, and a big curly root grabbed her and took her within the underground and rooted world. Her family searched, searched and searched even more, but Anne never returned home.

Underneath the chestnut tree, Anne’s dad built a garden house, so they could, even after many many years, quietly sit there to think of Anne in good memories. The story tells that everyone that would sit at the wooden table could hear Anne softly repeatedly whisper: “Das Leben des Baumes des Lebens”.

15 x 23 x 60 cm, Das Leben des Baumes des Lebens, Wood and paper
15 x 23 x 60 cm, Das Leben des Baumes des Lebens, Wood and paper