This afternoon’s homeward drive south from Friesland, after a blissfully peaceful couple of days in my dear friend’s warm and welcoming home, I once again took to marvelling at my new home country. Of course, the picturesque pastoral scenes of the rural areas always give my heart a happy flutter. Passing the homes and sheds of the farms, I allow my farmer’s daughter imagination to wander to the tasks and topics of discussion in these “foreign” farmers homes, knowing that they are probably not that far removed from the topics and discussions that we had around the table, or fire place of our home farm, far away in sunny South Africa…
Whilst driving through the flattest lands that I’ve ever seen (side note: I have driven the flat areas of The Great and Klein Karoo, South Africa as well as some pretty flat areas of Utah, Arizona and Texas, USA), where polders look a little damp in the winter climate, the countryside is hatched and cross-hatched with canals and smaller “spruits” and with lines and avenues of the ruler-straight variety of bare trees, narrow roads and bicycle paths. The horizon is continuously broken, not by any topographical swell, but by the numerous ancient church steeples, juxtaposed by the most modern of wind turbine technology. The old fashioned windmills are slowly but surely being replaced by giant sleek bladed propellers that march across the flat lands of this remarkable country, The Kingdom of the Netherlands.
This Sunday evening journey got me thinking about our family day adventure over the Christmas/New Year holiday week…
Having had the privilege of experiencing the charming village of Giethorn, commonly known as “the little Venice of NL”, on one of the hottest days of pre-covid summer, I suggested to my family that perhaps a little “winter wonderland” adventure would be worth a drive, to which there was mutual consent.
Well, note to anyone travelling, or foreigners now living in NL: consult as many of the weather apps available, they are all pretty accurate BUT, in spite of predictions for dry weather, ALWAYS have an umbrella or a raincoat, preferably both, handy. In our case, we had the pleasure of driving our nephew’s larger, more comfortable (for the back seat) car than our little Fiat 500, all adding to the day’s adventure excitement, until, that was, when we arrived in a cloud burst and realised that our trusty umbrellas were all sitting in the boot of our little Fiat!
Needless to say, the adventure was nothing short of the proverbial “damp squib” as we dashed around the quaint canals trying to take cover from the downpour under hedges and leafless trees – not a successful jaunt by any stretch of the imagination, coupled with the somewhat dullness of covid lockdown pallor, there was less than any winter charm to be seen.
It was on our drive home that we all noticed the light, pouring gloriously through the clouds, way to the south west, our homeward direction, and it made me ponder the fact that us human beings are all drawn to the light, in every sense of the phrase.
In our case, the appeal was more to do with the warmth and the dryness offered by the weak rays, following our damp dash, though I did delve a little deeper and venture to add that we were drawn to the light of the fast approaching New Year and all the opportunities that it had/has in store for of us, especially now that we are finally a complete family of four in the same hemisphere, the same time zone and the same continent!
So too are we drawn to the light of hope that is offered by the joyous Christmas gift of a Saviour, born for all mankind. Coupled with all the wonder of anticipating the excitement of a new start, a new year and hopefully an end to the rigours of a world gone crazy over the virus that has consumed every news platform for the past two years.
Let us all strain towards the light of truth and an end to the damaging “fake news” that ends up pitting opinion and belief as sparring partners for family and friends – may the light of TRUTH be our guiding light!