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Finally Winter

It has taken a while, but winter has finally found its way to the Netherlands. At least to the northern part of the country. First a little bit of snow, and now a thick layer of ice is covering the streets. That is what we have been waiting for, some real winter. It’s great!

Have you seen the video’s on the internet or on the news? The people ice skating over the streets or playing curling on parking lots? It’s crazy, right? With a sudden drop in temperatures, combined with mist and rain, a really solid layer of ice has been formed over almost every surface in the north of the Netherlands. Tuesday morning I suddenly got a load of messages from my friends who live in that part of the country, saying they were skating on the street, and that they had the day off from work or university due to the weather. I was really surprised and amused, but thought it would soon be melting anyway. Well, that turned out a bit differently. Today was already the third day of the ice, and it has not melted even a bit.

As I live quite a bit below the area where the real winter weather is, there is nothing like snow or ice to be found here. I am still not quite sure whether I’m sad to miss out all of the real winter weather, or glad not to be stuck in the house due to the wintery circumstances. On the one hand, I really love winter and snow. After spending four months in the snow in Norway last year, it has found a way into my heart. So I wouldn’t mind a really cold winter, for Dutch standards cold of course, I have my limits too. But on the other hand, all that ice on the streets is not so very practical. This afternoon, I saw a video of a man trying to “climb” a small ramp onto the sidewalk to put out his trash. I think it was a height difference of about ten centimetres. And it took him almost two minutes, in which he ended up carefully climbing forward on his hands and feet. Honestly, I’m glad that wasn’t me. So really, I’m not sure how I feel about all that ice.

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Either way, I love that it is getting colder, because even where I live we have a serious drop in temperatures. I am only too glad that we will finally have some real winter. Some actual cold. A reason to wear thick sweaters and gloves and be glad with a warm bowl of soup when you get home. And I’m not only happy for myself. Nature really needed a bit of cold too. All of the plants that need a certain amount of cold days before they can start growing again, they would not be present next year if there were no winter. And the birds making nests already in the warm weather, the plants starting to flower. That was just not right. Until it is really time for spring, the birds would have nothing to feed their chicks and the flowers would not be pollinated. With some real cold now, those processes are stopped and can start again when the time is right. That is much better.

As for my horse, she is really happy with the cold too. Now I can finally exercise her without making her break out into a sweat after only half an hour of light work. Her thick winter coat is made for temperatures like these, and she feels so much more energetic and happy right now. It is just amazing to see. And one of the things I like most about riding in the forest with her in these colder days? That is seeing her breath come out in little white clouds. Call me crazy, but every horse loving person will understand how relaxing and magical a sight that is. The rest of you will just have to believe me.

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Whether you like the cold or are waiting for it to be over again, I hope you will all stay safe, have fun skating when possible and enjoy the winter as much as you can.

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