With nothing going on outside and little to do inside, my thoughts travel back in time to the year spent in fourth grade. My school was a small school in a small town in the middle of Holland. Grade one through three were in one school; grade four through six were in another. This one, the Barbara school, was at the end of our street, which made for a very quick trip to and from school on foot. At noon we all went home for lunch. By one thirty we were back for the rest of the school day. In front was the schoolyard with two old and large horse chestnut trees (Aesculus hippocastanum). Twice daily we played games in their shade. In spring they flowered with masses of blooms; in fall the fruits would fall. The fruit was cloaked in a spiny coat which, once opened, revealed a shiny reddish brown chestnut with a large white spot.
January, that dreadful month is upon us. The days are mostly cold. Frankly, today with 5 degrees for the high, it is bitterly cold. A snowstorm, followed by warming up and rain, made for a few messy days. By now most of the snow has melted and now we are just cold. Dressed in layers with a heavy coat, gloves and a hat a few minutes outdoors are tolerable, but no more than that! But, at least the days are getting longer again!