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Fortællinger fra Kreta | 13

Tales from Crete | 13

Snow over Crete

It is now not so unusual anymore, but again it was the mountains along Crete that were covered with snow before we here in Denmark have seen much of it.

The photo, courtesy of, is from last Sunday, December 2nd, when in just 2 days, large amounts of snow covered Omalos and the other high mountain peaks and it looks great. But although it is a beautiful sight, the snow has a completely different and more important meaning for Crete's fauna. When the snow melts during March-April, it provides water for all the vegetation that would otherwise dry out and die over the summer, so the Cretans are generally very happy when the snow falls on the mountains. For many, it is an ordinary Sunday outing with the family, going for a ride in the mountains and frolicking in the newly fallen snow, before Sunday lunch is taken at one of the local taverns a few hundred meters further down the mountain, where the temperature is still 18 degrees and you can easily sit outside and eat with a view of the white-clad mountains.

When I myself take one of the first trips of the year down there during the month of April, there is usually still a lot of snow on the mountain tops, but it disappears quickly, because the sun's rays are warm and quickly thaw the meter-thick layer of snow, so that the meltwater can subsequently run freely down the mountains and irrigate the lower lying areas. There is speed when the water cascades down like this from kilometers high and the dried up streams that you often see over the summer turn into gushing rivers. As early as the beginning of May, all the snow is usually gone on the island and especially the deeper valleys at the foot of the mountain range are transformed into a green and blooming inferno that lasts until the sun has again gained so much power that everything comes to appear again brown and dry. For good reasons, the Cretans call this particular period the green age.

It has been like this for millennia and will probably be like this for the next thousands of years. Because according to Greek mythology, it is all something Zeus, the god of the gods, stands for, since he is the god of the weather, and he will not let his sister Dementor, who is the god of agriculture and fertility, because we are all dependent on the crops the earth can provide and the fertility for that mankind and animal life can continue to live.

Well, you can actually sit and become completely philosophical when you let your thoughts fly and mix them with the ancient Greek gods and who knows....maybe they also had a hand in the game of the thousands of oranges that arrived just this week home from Crete and is now ready to be delivered to customers tomorrow. At least they taste good.

Have a really nice weekend.

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