And suddenly, behind the trees alongside the road, was a red-brick abbey. Built by someone who had an organized mind. An abbey where horse-pulled wagons once clattered in through the vaulted gate. Where buildings and their bricks were arranged in strict geometrical lines – except for the bell tower that looked, well, strictly like a bell tower. Where there was no way to cross a quadrant except for trampling the daisies on the lawn, and where people adhered to walking along the angled pavements. But we did dare to cross the daisy-scattered lawn and walk underneath the purple beeches, and arrived at a pond which was neither square nor circular. It was simply a pond. With black swans, no less.
And when we dared to peek into the buildings, the scent told us a story of much less square people: those who indulge in the art of making abbey beer and cheeses. And who take the time to sit among the daisies on the lawn.
(L’Abbaye de la Ramée, Jodoigne, Belgium; May 2015)