Iceskate fever for ever

in culture •  3 years ago  (edited)

Autumn, to me, is the worst time of the year. Once the colourfull leaves have dropped from the trees, it becomes too gloomy for me. Maybe because it resonates with demise, in the greater perspective of all. And I don't like goodbyes that last for ever. It is the time of the year when the last harvest has been done. Turning our lifes to the inside, the world of thoughts and feelings. Also preparing for a new round in the outside world. Shaping things up again. The symbol of Taiji, 太极, (aka Yin-Yang) seems to fit this perfectly. Autumn is the darkest part of the symbol ☯, winter is where the light dot is, that's where the light returns. Just like midnight is the beginning of a new day. And I'm glad we are at the last month of fall. Winter is coming!

Now why the cheer? Well, winter means there is a chance of ice, ice means a chance of iceskating. And that is a kind of a big thing here in Nederland, aka the Netherlands. It is like a disease, but more the kind one, like a fever that gives off good vibes.

The day when the darkness is present the longest, is a day of celebration for many. It dates back to a long time ago, even before time was invented when people still lived in sync with nature. The longest night is the end of the old wheel cycle and the beginning of the new one. Light is returning, something that resonates with many cultures on earth.

For many cultures on earth the coming of winter is a time of celebration. The light is returning, when winter is here, spring is near. The time when the worlds of demise and the world of birth are close, sometimes is almost too weird to believe. At the day we honoured our grandfather on his last journey, my sister in law told us there was a new family member coming. Strange how these things sometimes seem to be in sync. Tears of sadness, followed by tears of joy.

It is in these times when we turn inside that we seem to remember more the ones we lost. For me there is also a symbolic link to our old shared culture as a human kind. This intertwines with many cultures today. And I find it a bit sad that there are groups of people who seem to have forgotten this old shared knowledgde. As it seems to be the basic connection we have as humanity, it even returnes in many religions. It can be found in the symbolic returning of the light. So there is more common ground for us as a human kind, than we might have ever thought excisted.

So, is the title of this post misleading? No, because with winter coming, a more dry air is arriving, helping me overcome my cold better, at least. Also frost, sub zero temperatures, could mean ice. And that could mean iceskating. It is part of the cultural tradition here in Nederland. The first skates where made from animal bones, but today we do not use those that much anymore. Yes, we too have evolved.

Because I dislike darkness taking away the light of the day, I look forward to the returning of the sun. And winter is the time when that happens. The 21st of december, party time, that is the old year leaving and a new year beginning on the 22nd. But we celebrate it ten days later, for some reason. And there is another reason for happiness, ice skating, if we are lucky, that is. While there are ice skate tracks under a roof, for many they are considered artificial. It is not the real thing, going on an oval track of 400 meters, until you have done about 25 rounds and call it a day.

No, for the real lover of ice skating, it is the real thing, the one that mother nature gives us, if we do not put to many shait in our water, that is. So, when winter comes many here are getting their ice skates sharpened, ready to go, when the time is right. Most of us even prefer the tracks outside where there is natural ice, even on an oval track of 400 meter. Not to speed skate, but just to enjoy it. Being outside, with other people, having a good time.

It can be considered a kind of addicition, I guess. Keeping an eye on the weather forecasts, will it get sub minus 10 degrees celcius? The wind that needs to come from the east. Because when it comes from the west, it means mostly wind, dark clouds and rain. And that is bad for my mood. And when it gets to that minus 15 degrees celcius, I almost know for sure that it is going to happen. When I was very young I even slept with my ice skates on, once. They were the real ones the adults had, I was looking forward to ice skate just like them. (It turned out it wasn't that easy, by the way...)

In 2012 we had the luck that lake Oldambt got frozen with a big layer of ice. And a good friend of mine was looking forward to take the tour, like many others. We teamed up and went early in the morning to the north of our home-town Winschoten, in the municipal of Oldambt, near the village of Beerta. That's where the lake Oldambt tour started. It was minus 15 degrees celcius and the wind made it feel even colder. But the excitement and warm clothing gave us quite a boost. This was it, doing rounds of 20 kilometers, ice skating over the lake. Hearing the sharpened irons scratching it's way unerneath me. It is so in the here and now. Making long strokes, sliding forward, through a beautifull winter landscape.

If there is one thing that unites us here in Nederland, aka the Netherlands, then it is ice skating, the season of winter, when mother nature gives us ice to skate on. There is not much that can beat this on a sunny winters day, sliding over the ice layered on top of lake Oldambt. That day in 2012 we managed two rounds. The wind took on really bad and it blew us almost backwards on the last piece of the track but we made it. And my smile almost must have been frozen in. This was such a grand happening, giving a huge natural high.

And while it is getting colder here, while the last month of autumn darkness started, I'm looking forward to leaving the old year behind and celebrate the new one coming. Hopefully with a winter where there can be ice skated on the beautifull frosted ice outside, delivered by mother nature.

Have a good new Yule tide!

photos cc-by-sa @oaldamster

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As a Canadian, I can relate to so much of this post. Such a good read. Well done.
Soon I'll be out there. My skates are hockey skates though and there will no doubt be a stick in my hand. I respect the outside rink. Even when I was a child and it was -30... that did not stop me.

Thank you, I'm glad you like it. And I know in Canada people also love iceskating. Ice hockey being your national sport, in winter here it is ice speed-skating. Although there are some famous fast ice speed-skaters from Canada known to us over here.

I like it more the long marathon style on the natural ice floor though.

Now we don't have the sub -30's over here, as far as I remember, but -20 did not stop me either. It is a great time of the year. Can't wait to get those irons slide over the ice again.

Interesting fact. Hockey and Lacrosse share the title of national sport here.
I've never even tried on a pair of speed skates. When I played hockey in my teens I was pretty quick though. Probably less effort with those long blades.
In Canada, at least where I live, we don't have long ice trails on our lakes. Everything is hockey rink style. I have a pond here that makes a great rink every year. Maybe I'll actually take some photos this winter and share them here. The only downside... all that shoveling.

Lacrosse is very unknown to me. Just had a look at Wikipedia to understand it a bit.

At some point I used to have ice-hockey skates in my teens. But to do long rounds they were less usable. So a few years back I got skates with the long blades again.

Great idea, I would love to have a look into another part of the world. Good luck shoveling! Here they have car for that with a shovel in front. :-)

I have kids with shovels in front. :)

That's very handy too. :-)

Koek en zopie!

En 'kwast', hier in de provincie.

Da's met citroen en zonder alcohol, toch?

Klopt :-)

Is lekker! Zopie wordt toch niet meer verkocht, maar het recept staat wel op Wikipedia.

Lijkt me tof om dat eens te maken! Dank voor de link naar het recept.
Of het schaatsen nog goed gaat na het drinken van Zoep Ie, dat weet ik niet. Maar lekker lijkt het mij wel.

Voorlopig houd ik het als nuchtere noordeling eerst bij kwast. :-)

What a nice post! I like living in the US Pacific Northwest, but I do miss the ice. There's nothing like ice skating out in the cold. I've only skated on outdoor rinks, lakes, and ponds, though - never on a long canal system where you can actually go places. That would be neat! And I really like ice fishing. Here's to winter!

Thabk you I'm glad you like it! And it is so great to skate outdoor. Against the elements. feeling alive!

If we are lucky this winter we can do Oldambt tour, that would include lake Oldambt. For a part canals.

In our neighbouring province Friesland they hope their eleven city tour can be skated again. That one is a 200 kilometer ride over canals.

To winter!

That would be so cool to skate from town to town. Come on winter, head to Friesland and Oldambt!

Absolutely that would be great!
Thank you, I'm whishing with you that it's going to happen!

: )

@oaldamster, I had to read cause I love it when it snows here. In spring, summer and fall , I love the fact that I live in Arnhem but in winter, I envy those who are in Groningen! You guys tend to get more ice - not fair. I can't skate and I can't train of soft ice in the mere in front of my house either - ha ha!

  • you slept with your skate on as a child - that's a nice memory to paint :)
    The ice has fallen in Sweden I hope it comes here, too sooner!

You can still learn @englishtchrivy ;-)
It tends to bit a bit colder here in the north. But it has been a few years already again since the weather circumstances were right.

Hope this winter will have the right conditions.

And yes that would be fun, painting myself as a kid with skates on in bed. :-)

@oaldamster yes! I should learn then I can go up there and see those great pics you posted myself! plus my friends sometimes go up to DE to skate I will be burning benches alone if I can't :D!
Laat maar de winter komen maar niet alleen in Groningen graag!

Yes go for it Ivy, you can do it!
And the you can come overhere with your friends and enjoy beautifull Oldambt on ice!

Hopelijk een mooie winter voor iedereen!

Thank you for posting @oaldamster.

Lovely photographs......these bring to mind the paintings of old of skaters on the ice.

Thank you for the opportunity to ponder these things.
All the best. A bientot.

You are welcome @bleujay, glad you appreciate my photos.

They do remind of the old paintings from the 17th century, some work by Hendrick Avercamp for instance.

Thank you very much for your kind words, whish you all the best too.

Tot later

image source Wikimedia, licence: public domain

Thank you for your reply @oaldamster.

How lovely is this......thank you for the lovely....lively.....picture of a skating painting of olde accompanied by the artist's name. You are too kind.

Thank you for your kind whishes. A bientot.

A side note....are there any articles on Steemit you could recommend regarding BTC hardware wallets. @profitgenerator mentioned Bitshare yesterday....when one had heard Trezor was recommended. Perhaps you will do a write up in your thorough style and assist in the decision making process.

It is great to share this kind of information. Fun fact that I noted on the paintings is that ice hockey already was played here in the 16/17th century.

Unfortunately @bleujay I do not have experience in the hardware wallet field. What I read is about the trezor one. And if I remember correctly there are some developers who are working on a steem addition to the trezor wallet.

Maybe some who read this have experience with hardware wallets like the trezor can share there knowledge in an easy to use way.

I agree, I am always happier when winter hits. It's nicer when things are frozen rather than being damp and cold! Ice and snow are at least something of an adventure!!

Yes, the adventure of winter, I like that!

Be gone oh yee gloom and doom of fall, and soon bring ice and snowy winter to us all!

Make it so for the Low- and Highlands!

Yes, make it so!!

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