If I had a column in the Delft op Zondag

(Not the real)
Delft op Zondag


1 JANUARY 2017

The Sky / De Openlucht

DELFT - If you follow the Christian calendar, this is a new year. It is celebrated in the big market with fireworks here in Delft. Rotterdam is not far, and they tend to go wild on New Years lighting up the night.

Certainly that is all well and everyone has a good time; however, it leaves a mess. The ground is littered with spent paper rockets, and the air is thick with acrid smoke. The Delft Gemeente / municipality will come around and clean the streets and the smoke moves off eventually. And then comes a new year. Some have already made resolutions and some haven't. The view one should improve oneself sounds good, and your doctor will agree. Mine are exercise more, eat less and better posture.


"No one has ever asked me why did I stay in Holland. I had an answer ready: the sky. Texas has sky that is nothing short of art, and I would miss that if I could not look up and see beauty on a heavenly palette."

For Christmas, my partner received a book called Gouden Jaren, golden years. It is about Holland after the war and into the fifties. Of course, all rode bicycles then. The photos are black and white and show what the times were like for them. The people who remember those days are often in care homes now. But the faces in the book are the same as you see in Delft today.

The book is about before the huge changes that happened from the 60's on. Social issues brought people to the streets just as sunshine did this last week. At the close of 2016, we go shopping, take a coffee at one of the new cafes, chat with our friends and family. We are starting another new year. What will we make of this new rotation and what more can go wrong.

I do not mind the short days any more, because I know they are getting longer. Sure there is January and February to get through, but the icy winters are less so lately. At first, I was always chilly, so I noticed what the Dutch wore.

I bought what I call my 'fear no evil' jacket and am fine with weather now, even rain. There is that kind of misty rain all too common in Holland that the Dutch do not call rain per se. Unless ducks are drowning, it is only thick, dampish air.

Mid-week there was a gloriously clear day, brisk but not cold. Sparkling sunshine in the time of winter pulled people out of their homes. The streets seemed more crowded than the congestion of mere tourists. These folk looked local and jolly.

Stores displayed signs offering discounts - the after Christmas sales. The Dutch love a bargain just like Americans do but go about it without much pushing and shoving. Its not the Dutch way at all and seldom seen. It does happen but rarely.

Can we get a little more right? We have another chance to plant, to grow and to harvest. Maybe we can sow better, share more and forgive those who trespass against us as we ask forgiveness for our trespasses. And have our daily bread please.

G. Wiley / NLStrabo - © Copyright - All rights reserved - gwileynl@gmail.com
In memory of Herb Caen