A couple of weekends ago we went walking in Het Twiske – it’s a little piece (650 hectares) of almost-wild wetland on the edge of North Amsterdam. I describe it as ‘almost-wild wetland’ but I’m sure there is a more accurate term for it – it is essentially man-made and, being part of Holland, it probably used to be the ocean. There’s still plenty of water about, and at this time of year a lot of that water has turned to ice. The Dutch landscape is marked by an abundance of water and vast expanses of sky, and the two work together to produce magnificent reflections and a very special quality of light.
Although every fibre of my being is crying out for this winter to pack its bags and move along (doesn’t it have somewhere else to be… like the Southern Hemisphere?) winter is, for me, the most visually inspiring season, and particularly so when the differences between the seasons are more extreme. I like its stillness, and the graphic quality of its shapes and lines. I like its apparent simplicity and its subdued palette. And I like knowing that despite its sometimes hostile qualities and its illusory restraint there’s healing and renewal and growth going on constantly but quietly unobserved… waiting patiently to burst forth when Spring rolls around again.