Pothead, Potato, Pigs, Pussycats, Patchouli, Pat Metheny, Pavlova, Prince, and plenty more.

Pines in the snow

pine branch in snow

Pining for snow

eleven cities tour

1985: After 22 years of pining, at last it was there!

When I left the Netherlands in 1983 I could not remember when snow had last fallen or when the country had been bestowed with a winter harsh enough for the Eleven Cities tour to take place. As a youngster I had loved snow and ice-skating, but from my teens till my early twenties, winters were bland. Humid cold, stormy, rainy days, occasionally snow unworthy of mentioning and although I owned ice skates I didn’t have the need for them anymore. I do not remember any of those last winters hindering my cycling to work.

Down south

winter scene RSA

South Africa: yellowish-brown winter scene

Johannesburg, where I settled at the end of 1983, has a climate very different from the Netherlands. Dry winters and rainy summers down south. That first winter I was stunned and abhorred when everything turned brown and yellow and stayed that way for months. I was told that it snowed once every ten years in the city and that the last time had been in 1981. Hhmmm. Instead of loathing rain, I got to love it (Holland, like England, can be quite gloomy with many drizzly days in a row). You simply look out for it after six months of its absence while suffering the views of the scorched fields and parks, and you, as a new immigrant, start to look forward to it just as much as every other resident in the region.

To this day, more than ten years after leaving South Africa and having lived in the Netherlands for a whole year now, I love rain. But I love snow more. As a child I used to sit on my knees, leaning against the back of an easy chair, looking through the window and up into the millions of whirling snow flakes. Snow flakes seemed huge then!  Is it any wonder that the longer I lived down south the more I longed for a good old fashioned winter? Exactly thirteen months after I left Holland they were able to hold their first Eleven Cities tour in 22 years’ time. A friend sent me a beautiful publication of the event. I was immensely jealous and peeved! It was weird to see pictures of my country fellowmen tackling the frozen ‘tundra’ of Friesland while I enjoyed my second Jo’burg summer.

Holland is good to me

roe in snow

Unfortunately, not my own picture – had to nick it from the net

A year ago I arrived in a certain area because of three reasons. I had googled 1) house to rent, 2) pets allowed, and 3) wifi internet. It was miles away from my family and in a province I had visited once or twice during the summertime several decades earlier. I didn’t know that it would be colder here than at the North Sea coast. That geese and Whooper swans would be flying to and fro all day long. Roes running past me in the forest. A huge forest virtually on my doorstep, sand drifts not much further, as well as an old peat collection area, now protected. I just wanted to live somewhere safe with my pets and be spherically connected, so to speak. No, I would not have dreamt of asking for all those wonderful ‘things’ that I got. But then again, I knew then and know now, and have known for quite a while that Mother Nature loves me (and I’ve loved her right back). It’s as if she opened a treasure chest for me.

Pines in the snow

Here then, some (cell/mobile) pictures of my walk with Pantouf through a recent layer of snow (the second since early December).

Pines in snow

This way please!

Pine - exposed roots


Pine and dog

Old beauties

Pine broken branches

All shapes and sizes

Pine needles in snow

Snowy needles

detail pines in snow

Surprise! Detail of ‘Pine trees in snow’ by Maruyama Ōkyo – a well known painting

Pines and bench in snow


Pine and dog in snow

Born to sniff

pine bark

Close enough?

pine pair

A fine pine pair – till death do us part

pine - angled

Is it tough being an old tree?

dog on path

Time to go home ~ that was fun!

During the last snowfall, the walking paths, pavements and roads seemed to hold too much warmth for the snow to accumulate on them (it had been exceptionally mild for a while).  So no slipping and sliding.  Therefore, the ideal snowfall.


Comments on: "Pines in the snow" (19)

  1. Lovely pictures!

    Winters have been going downhill in these parts, too. Last year around this time there was almost no snow at all. This year there is full cover, but it’s not very thick. (On the other hand, it’s 8 (F) today and we’re headed for highs in the sub-zero teens later this week. January in Minnesota… gotta have some iceboxing!)

    • Thanks!

      Yeah, parts of North America just aren’t worthwhile living year-round unless there’s a certain amount of snow and freezing! It seems to fluctuate though, although I had plenty of snow all eight winters I lived in eastern Canada.

      Now that it’s cold here I am glad I’m not suffering -22 to -40 anymore (real to windchill). I also lived at the end of a dirt road and didn’t see the snow plough for two days in a row on bad days! There might be snow drifts here now too. Didn’t even know Holland had those. 🙂

      • As I write this it’s -9 (-33 windchill), and I decided it would be a good day to work at home! It’ll warm up a little tomorrow and through the week. Oddly, it was up to 40 last week.

        Crazy state. Minnesota is so centrally placed it gets just about the least amount of ocean weather moderation possible in the USA. If warm gulf air comes up the Mississippi river valley, and the jet stream stays north, it’s warm in these parts.

        If that jet stream kinks south and brings down arctic air, then not so much.

        Look at it this way: I live at 45 degrees north, whereas the Netherlands is around 52-53 degrees north. The very top edge of my state is only 49 degrees north, and my buddy is up there right now ice fishing in weather that’s about 20-30 degrees colder than here!

  2. Looks like you’ve found yourself a little paradise! So have I 🙂

  3. Long time, no P post! I hope all is well. (I’ve retired from the work-a-day world!!)

    • Hey, so sweet to think of me. 🙂 You’re right, long time no P post that made publication. Several in draft as well as a bunch in the head but no follow through (such as Pantouf’s Pesticide Poisoning – due to a gardener’s faux pas. P got sick but lived to sniff on). I decided to focus on work earlier this year and got busy with a new client.

      Been watching lots of movies too (lately Norwegian, such as Troubled Water and Kon-Tiki. Have also read a lot. What about you? I am now reading Peter Freuchen’s Book of the Seven Seas. That is a must if you haven’t read it yet. This read is a spin-off from Kon-Tiki.

      Do you still blog regularly? And if so, is that how you keep yourself out of mischief since you have retired or are you busy as a consultant?

      • No consulting work for me (not so far, anyway). It looks like I just might be able to completely afford retirement if I budget just a little. I’ll be watching my finances throughout the rest of the year to see. Meanwhile I’m discovering that I still don’t get done nearly what I planned to get done on any given day. All that extra time hasn’t translated to getting done all that work, yet.

        Planning on blogging very regularly, although I find I have mixed emotions. I don’t seem to have gathered much of an audience, so I’m assuming what I have to say doesn’t interest… well, just about everyone. It sort of makes me wonder why I bother, since each post takes at least half a day, and some take much longer.

        Still, I have a self-imposed mission of sorts to leave something of myself behind. It’s the one chance to do so, so I soldier on.

        Glad Pantouf survived the pesticide! That would have really, really sucked.

  4. My last blog article starts off, “Having penned a perplexing pair of Python posts, and planning a putative pair of POV-Ray posts for the pending week, I feel the pressure to pause and ponder some other puzzle for a period. Like words that start with “P”, for instance. Or something more profound, like peas in our time. (And pass the potatoes.) Perhaps something personal would please?”

    I thought of you! 😀

    Happy Season! Hope all is well with you and Pantouf!

    • Hey Chris, good to hear from you! I’d been thinking of writing a follow-up post (my son decided he’d played dead long enough and we’ve been Skyping!) But even such good news doesn’t seem to make it to a post. Down on creativity big time this year.

      I should have carried on reading your blog as you always rather made me laugh. So that is what I’ll do now, see what other pee’s you wrote about.

      I see why you actually thought of me: Perhaps something personal would please? ha ha!

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