Sunday, 9 February 2014

On the Right Side of the the Solstice and Hans Brinker

The story of winter is told in the sky.  Look up, there is the ever-present cloud cover but not the fluffy, white clouds from other seasons; this is flat, monochromatic, reaching as far as the eye can see.  However, we are on the right side of the Winter Solstice  now.  Where during the lead up to Christmas we were daily subtracting minutes of light, now we are adding and a difference in the daylight can already be felt. Many people have been happily commenting on this so perhaps we all have a greater sensitivity to a lack of light than we realized.
This has been a week of Olympic flag-bearers and symbolism and glorious achievement. I have been watching the speed skaters.  I just love the look of their bodies sleek in their various coloured suits.  When they strike that special stride where they tuck their arm behind their back and swing the other, and skate with those long beautiful strokes, I can feel my heart lift with them.  I want them all to win.  I have a sentimental reason for liking the skaters.  I watched the movie made from the book Hans Brinker and The Silver Skates on the Walt Disney television show in 1963, or thereabouts.  I just loved the story of Hans and his sister, Gretel, their love for each other and their ill father and of course, Hans' sacrifice for others, even to the point of sacrificing those beautiful silver skates.  I never forgot the images of the children skating on the canal.  Years later I learned the book was written by an American woman.
Watching the skaters makes me feel out of shape and too sedentary for my own good.  I can only imagine the stamina it takes to make it to the Olympics.  And excellence takes so much time and includes a ten year rule... about three hours a day for ten years.  Even if I began right this minute...