There are many old trees on the Bantam estate in Bussum. Beeches, birches, oaks, ash trees, and imposing wriggling conifers. Some are nearly dead, others very much alive. The tree in the photo belongs to the latter group. It is full of beautiful copper-coloured leaves in early autumn, and now, in late autumn, one cannot ignore the impressive trunk. The tree sits slightly separate from the rest of the beech row along the path. It is covered in strips of velvety, bright green moss. The image reminds me of a sturdy dancer dressed in a green velvet robe, the skirt falling in graceful folds over her feet – a stylish private dancer.
The Bantam Estate (Landgoed Bantam in Dutch) is one of five rather small estates in the Gooi region. All but one of them is owned by Natuurmonumenten, a Dutch organization for nature conservation. The other estates are all neatly maintained. Paths are raked, and shrubs are cut. Bantam is different. Its large beech trees are getting worn out. Because of all the dead wood, it is mushroom heaven in autumn, too. A large variety of fungi and mushrooms cover the forest floor. The fallen beeches are covered in porcelain fungi (oudemansiella mucida). Each autumn, quite a few of them fall down.
As a consequence, the light in the forest constantly changes, which obviously is great for photography. The place also breathes more history and mystery than the other estates in the Gooi region. I absolutely love this place!
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