Last week, my housemate and I had planned to go horseback riding in the forest. Unfortunately, pushing open my curtains that morning, there was barely anything to see except a sea of white. It wasn’t snow, it was a thick mist. Even after a couple of hours the mist had not lifted, but we decided to carefully go out anyway. Who would have guessed that the forest would be so beautiful just then?
Ready to go
After getting the horses ready, we geared ourselves with reflecting safety vests and off we went. My housemate was riding her own lovely horse and I was allowed to borrow one of the other horses stabled at that yard, the sweet trotter called “Akkie”.
We started off our trip over some country roads. And because the mist was still so thick, it made a complete surreal scenery. The farmers’ fields were almost completely swallowed by the clouds of white, so we could only see for about thirty to fifty metres ahead. Sounds of country life were audible, but without any clue about the source of the sounds. Somehow that made everything seem very remote. You know or hear something is there, but at the same time it seems miles away.
A Quiet Forest
By the time we reached the edge of the woods, it was well past noon, but the mist showed no signs of lifting. Which was just as well, because what we found inside the forest was pure beauty: shards of cloud hanging around the trees, shimmering leaves and softly dripping branches. The quietness of it all was just breathtaking.
As it was a normal weekday, and a cold and grey one at that, the forest was almost deserted. We met one other rider and a handful of people walking, but no more than that. It felt as if the forest was there for us alone. While the horses were visibly enjoying themselves, we were happily chatting away and breathing in the fresh air. What an amazing way to spend the afternoon!
Riding through the misty woods, we decided it would be the perfect place for mythical creatures to appear. If it had been after dusk, it would have been a scary place. If it had been sunny, it was fairytale ground. But now, it was the perfect scenery for the Dutch legends called “Witte Wieven” (translated: white women). These spirits of wise women are said to be sometimes good, sometimes evil. They will help wanderers and childbearing women but are also said to swap babies and plague anyone who harms the forest. On the risk of sounding very weird, I could imagine them being there in the forest at that moment. It all just felt so surreal.
Happy and Peaceful
After riding for about two hours, we arrived safely back at the stables. With cold hand and feet, but feeling satisfied and peaceful. What a lovely hack that was! Thanks to my housemate Bo for taking me on this trip, and thanks to the owner of Akkie for lending me him!
Even if you don’t fancy horseback riding, or don’t have a horse to take to the forest, you can still enjoy a misty day. Just go for a walk or ride your bike to the forest on the next grey morning and enjoy the breathtaking wonders of nature.
Pictures: frontpage, and picture 2 and 3: Tim Mossholder / picture 1: Jonas Nilsson Lee