I know that there is some polar vortex right now in the US, bringing insanely cold temperatures. So I should not complain, but it is cold here. Most days don’t get above 5 degrees, and most nights go below -1. Its snowed a lot too. But there are mornings that fill you with hope. The sky is clear, turning from indigo to pale blue, a large golden moon between the rooftops. Slowly, the sun butters the world in a mellow light, and its just so beautiful. Freezing, but beautiful.
Christmas morning. The moon was still visible, a large pale silhouette. The sky was lilac, and seemed to fill the windscreen. Dark coated horses ran underneath, their long manes flowing, hooves flying. Slowly a powder-pale blue seeped through the sky, the moon faded. Bare trees lined the roads, we were the only car around. There aren’t really many places left in the world that are truly peaceful. I love chaos and colour and buzz, but after a tiring first half-year teaching, peace was just what I was looking for. Peace, with a little side of adventure. And you can find both in winter in Zeeland.
It seems that every day this week I’ve come home covered in glitter and glue. ‘Tis the season for carols, chaos and crafts. Especially in school; when normal lessons seem to be put aside and everything is coated in Christmas. We’ve decorated the tree in our classroom, learned the words to countless Christmas songs, and (tried) to embrace the festive spirit of sharing and being caring. Its funny now that I can look at Christmas from their perspective, it reminds me of how exciting it all was when I was young. I loved this time of year; the buzz, the lights at a dark time.
You know I once hated this season. I’m a summer girl; bright sunshine, long warm days, cloudless skies. But I’ve slowly started liking Fall. And this year in Bergen, surrounded by auburn and marigold colored leaves and spiralling sycamore seeds, I decided Fall was beautiful too. Some of the sunrises; getting ready to cycle to work, dawn breaking. And the glorious evening sunlight bathing everything in a rich, buttery glow. There were still so many days of lovely weather, too. But you started to feel the shift, that it might be warm in the day, but evening’s cold air would creep in sooner and sooner. And during the week of my half-term break, it was clear what season was in charge.
Biking isn’t the same to me as running, and I do miss my long runs outside. But when in Holland, bike. And I’m glad I finally got back on mine, literally. On a perfect autumn day, there is just something about free-wheeling along the tree lined lanes, wind in your hair, sunglasses on. Biking to and from school each day is so quick, just ten minutes. Five minutes on two wheels to the town. In Holland, where biking is more like a form of transport, its easy and safe.
That funny time of year in Europe. When the heat hangs on, but the sun takes longer to surface in the mornings, and the moon is still a feature of the sky when you first step outside. The last week of my admittedly very long summer holiday. It was hard to leave family in England, but the dogs were along for the final ride. A week in Bruinisse, a chance to enjoy our soon-to-be-home, before I started my first real job.
There are roses which grow on the side of the wall. At first as rich and red as an expensive wine, slowly fading with the sun. Prune sniffs around them indifferently, then goes to lie down in her favorite spot. Summer time. When Prune came to us seven years ago, summer was slowly ending, Fall on its way. How she used to run, wild and young and free, late summer sun dancing across her shiny fur.
You know its rare that I say this but sometimes it really is nice not to travel. At least, not during the summer when you have a huge garden and patio and the roads are crowded and the airports stuffy. Of course, there’s the weather to consider. It might never get as hot as the continent, or as bone-dry as Southern Europe, but as we like to say, rain and stuff just tend to ‘blow over’ and not linger too long. Hence, a summer at home. Which also makes sense since I’ll be leaving in less than six weeks.