My daughter Mavi is now 14. I thought it was of the utmost importance to show her that father does not surrender to dystopian lethargy but manages to cross a lot of country borders to be able to reach her – of necessity, of course, because apparently governments have the right to prevent you from flying if you do not want to take part in a fun medical experiment. So it’s by car, quite a journey, especially with all those land borders in the Balkans. HELLO MR BENDERS COVID 19!!!’ said the Albanian border guard jovially and sarcastically. YES YES! I answered just as jovially, pointed at my mobile phone, and drove on.

That authorities have the right to frustrate me for two years in seeing my daughter is their own opinion. Unfortunately, there appears to be something deeply wrong with our legal system – as expressed in a recent article in which a court indicated that ‘since the toeslagen crisis’ it had become clear that ‘the government cannot always be trusted’ – and all I could think was: bunch of amateurs. The starting point should never be ‘trust’, that is already a corrupt approach. So there is no choice but to set up the whole thing again, this time with a proper Trias Politica.

Another thing you do with a daughter, give her nice memories. Mavi is a big fan of the Harry Potter series (I bought her the entire Earthsea trilogy, but so far to no avail!) and so I thought it would be a good idea to dig up the mandrake we found, which, after all, also appears in the Potter films.

It wasn’t easy, though, digging out a mandrake. We spent over an hour digging at the base of the plant with knife and spoon, and we did not manage to get the root out without damage. But I have to say that the smell of fresh mandrake will stay with me for a long time, seldom have I smelt a scent so purely medicinal.

We are on holy ground here. I am not very superstitious, superstitious people would also refrain from digging up such a plant, I think.
such a plant from the ground, I think. The mountaineering that followed went off without a hitch. However, the same day, a dog ran out in front of the car, and during the night, I experienced an earthquake for the first time in my life, even though I have lived in an earthquake area for 10 years – and that is strange to say the least, that you should experience an earthquake on the very day you dig up the mandrake.

I now know that this is a very unpleasant feeling. You think for a moment that you have lost your mind, until you realise that everything has indeed started to move.

But I am not very superstitious. It could also be that the earthquake was caused precisely because, after a wonderful day, someone thought they had to e-mail me one of Heytze’s lukewarm porridge poems, like, look, I know you had a good day but the lukewarm porridge poems still exist too:

typical lukewarm porridge poem of ingmar heytrze

I do my best to avoid that world, but there will always be people who think that I want to be reminded of the existence of lukewarm porridge poems for the sake of the existence of lukewarm porridge poems themselves.

That’s exactly what causes earthquakes, it seems to me. But all in all, a very beautiful day, which not even porridge poems and earthquakes can spoil, and that immutability, yes boys and girls, that is where we must look for the magic of existence.

By their shhhroom shall ye know them

M.H.H. Benders is a most recognised poet of his generation, a student of the universal mycelia,  Amanita Sage and mycophilosopher. He wrote sixteen books, the last ones at the Kaneelfabriek (Cinnamon Factory). He is currently working on ‘SHHHHHHROOM a book on mushrooms and the Microdose Bible, which is an activation plan to restore your true identity coming next year. Keep in touch!

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