Winter sleepwalking – report silence walk January

silent walk

René van Nieuwkuijk is part of the preparation group of the ‘Walk of Wisdom in a year round’ – a series of 10 silent walks, in which the Walk of Wisdom is walked around in one year. Below is his report of the ninth stage from Afferden to Beuningen. The next silent walk is on Sunday 10 February (more). Photos: Marja Hakkoer.

“Right on time, at 9 to 10 in the morning, 44 feet had gathered near café de Tabaksplant. So many legs that, although mobile and willing, slept through hibernation. I had also delivered two and can therefore report on how we moved from A to B while sleeping. In this case from Afferden to Beuningen.

This report is about the silent walk of the Walk of Wisdom of January 13, 2019. The image of hibernation was provided by Jaap Voigt through his book Living and Working in the Rhythm of the Seasons. With Nijmegen Green Capital at its back and the dike landscape of the Waal in its sights. 22 Lovers of silence. Seekers of space in the rhythm of the heart. Finders of surprises while dozing off sleep.

Patricia Akkermans and Marja Hakkoer welcomed us with the following words:
– This is the time of hibernation.
It is the time when the energy is built up so that life can return on its own.

This is the period when something can be born out of nothing.
It is the period in which the very beginning of life begins to return. It is the life that has not yet begun to move and that certainly has not yet taken shape.


January is the month of hibernation, when the seeds under the ground develop quietly at their own pace and in their own way.

Actually, you have to wait and see what comes. Allowing what happens.
Even though there is a tendency to start the new year with all kinds of good wishes and good intentions. –

To conclude the introduction of the day with the following poem about silence of a pilgrim:

Listen to the silence
Listen behind the silence
Silence is everywhere

The silence gives you freedom
The silence gives you happiness
The silence gives you truth
The silence gives you wisdom

The silence is within you
The freedom is in you
The joy is in you
The truth is within you
The wisdom is within you

The silence is within you
Listen to it

It was around freezing so the two breaks in which we could warm up were welcome waking moments. The first at café ‘t Zwaantje in Deest and the second in the Steenkamer, the farm where the Hegger family welcomed us with cake baked especially for us. We were about to leave when hostess Rian van Nieuwkuijk surprised us with her song La Rue. Very appropriate.

At the end of the étappe we wrote letters for the letter tree at the Beuningen dike warehouse. We hope that fellow pilgrims will in turn be surprised with our silent post. Marja read the following poem by Jan Boerstoel as inspiration and at the end of the day:

Do you ever think of hibernation when the cold sets in?

Such a hedgehog that goes to sleep in November
and dreaming misses everything: the Saint as a lame rhymer,
the Christmas trade and the New Year’s Eve reverie,
the New Year’s drinks and the New Year’s talk,
Fantastic, right? And what else spares him:
Snow, ice and hailstorms, shivering and shivering
and carnival… Wouldn’t you like something like that?
Only when spring comes back in the course of March

he wakes up fit and fresh after almost twenty weeks.
And then he crosses a traffic road.

from: A little orphaned,
Bert Bakker, Amsterdam, 1990

Rian will perform on Saturday 26 January 2019 in theatre De Molen in Beuningen. With “La Dame Brune”, her homage to Barbara and Edith Piaf. Entrance tickets via:

For report: René van Nieuwkuijk (brother of)