If I had a column in the Delft op Zondag

(Not the real)
Delft op Zondag


12 FEBRUARY 2017

A Silky February

DELFT - I do not mean to complain. Honestly, winter has been mild in comparison to what the Dutch have had before. Still, it is February and cold. I am happy for friends who are taking a few weeks in Costa Rica. The Sun Bums are posting on Facebook photos of beaches, sunshine, cuisine and hammocks. Looks fun.

Since I am not with them, Delft will have to do. That said, it is not a hardship posting. I call the kind of weather we had last week 'silky'. There is a softness in the light that touches rather than illuminates. There are reflections on the canal but otherwise no shadows. One day there was snow but not in a way that I have seen before. The flakes were tiny and disappeared the instant they touched ground or an object.


"The skies have been overcast, with a soft gray that smoothes sharp edges. Colors have a washed out tone; even yellow looks lackluster. The artist who lives just round the corner from me would use pastels and a light stroke to capture the feeling of these days."

Jacobs studied on her own, passed exams and petitioned the University of Groningen to let her 'attend' classes. She earned her medical degree in 1879, the first female physician, at least in the Netherlands. She opened the world's first birth-control clinic which was resisted strongly by her fellow physicians.

She was very involved in the women's suffrage movement, quitting her medical practice to do so. That was successful in 1919. Her later work was with a women's league on issues of freedom and peace. She lived to 75, and she made her own life an example of what is possible. Some tomorrow maybe, any job can be anyone's job. I think she would be pleased with women's opportunities today, mostly.

Some weeks as I go about my errands, a theme about Delft comes to me. This last week's notion was about women. The pig started that. The woman who owns the pig lives a few streets over from me. I remember it as a piglet, very cute.

Years ago, I was walking my dogs along the main canal and round the corner comes a piglet. It was on a leash held by an attractive woman, the kind who always look fresh and breezy. My dogs were fascinated but not aggressive.

Through a friend at the Engel whose mother knew her, I learned she had a fancy one day to have a pig. Seems it is a good pet, house broken and smart. It is said she is very happy with her pig. Its big now, real big, but still friendly.

A woman came to my attention via Google's doodle: Aletta Jacobs who was born in the Netherlands in 1854. Her father was a doctor and she wanted to become one too in a time when girls were not permitted to attend high school.

A third woman was one of our local special people. She was dressed perfectly for 1950, wore lots of makeup on a face smiling mysteriously. Walking click click, she shashayed past me down the street. Gents, raise a glass to the Ladies one and all.

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