Ice Party

The big news in Hannover this week is that the Machsee, the man-made rectangle lake in the center of the city (which is way cooler than my description), is officially frozen over enough to play on. For days the buzz everywhere was “How many centimeters? How many centimeters?” because the city officials have to measure it to decide when it’s safe for all that weight. It makes me think of Thoreau going on about testing the ice on Walden Pond.

When the Machsee ice isn’t yet thick enough, they actually have police going around to make sure people aren’t on the ice. If you are, you can be fined, and if you fall in, you’ll be charged for your rescue.

Wednesday was the first day it was thick enough—16 cm, I think–and the word on the street was “Der Machsee ist frei!” (The Machsee is free). The sun was out, it wasn’t too terribly cold, and it felt like a big party on the ice. People brought out their ice skates, their hockey sticks, you name it.

My son (4) rode his bike on it and also dragged around a big stick making drawings in the thin layer of snow on top of the ice. It was pretty great. One of those days when winter is really cool.

Here’s an airplane he drew below. He’s at this fantastic stage where his drawings are getting more complex and he’s still completely fearless about tackling whatever he wants. No “I can’t draw.”

In other news, it’s been a slow writing week, though maybe it’s an ideas week. I’ve been reading and mulling things over and finding little openings to take my story into deeper territory. Thanks for all your comments on the Less Meat post. Have a great weekend!

German Winter Light, or Lack Thereof

Sunny hours in winter are hard to come by here in northern Germany. One thing that helps is my almost daily walks by the Machsee (mach is pronounced MOSH  as in mosh pit. See is pronounced SAY, approximately). It’s always good to get some fresh air and exercise, and it’s on these walks that I see how beautiful winter’s gray, stark landscape can be.

The first picture above is from a day when it was raining on top of the frozen lake, giving this great moodiness and wonderful reflections. One thing I’ve noticed about gray is that it allows the subtlest colors to show off. On this day the ice looked a soft turquoise and the sky a yellowy-pink next to  purplish clouds.

This one was taken on a foggy day when it seemed some mystical being might travel across the ice our way.

Here below is the ice from that day, looking blue and brown and wounded:

Same landscape, slightly more light, and hey, what’s that patch of blue?

And here above, sunshine! The yellowish color of these bare branches just glows up against the ice.

Luckily we’re getting a little more sunshine in these parts this week, and the daylight hours are increasing.