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dancing in the dark

Some time after midnight, the night of a scorching day. The air feels heavy and moist against my skin. It smells of ozone, of pale rye fields and fields of golden wheat, of grass and moon and of electricity. I read of JJ Cale’s death today and I’m listening to his music on my headphones out there in the dark, in the garden, with the moon rising white and silent between the firs. Its light casts my shadow on the garden wall, a black ghost woman in a swirling, twirling dress, arms above her head, hips moving in a rhythm as old as time, as fresh as each breath of air.

She dips and sways, she rocks and jumps. She’s going crazy in a frenzy of summer, seduction and sadness. I want to be her, even as I realize that I am. Her stark profile as she dances in the moonlight to music only she can hear stays with me as I return to the safety of the sleeping house.

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December in pictures

November went by fast and slow at the same time and even though I started out all motivated and geared up for NaNo, I didn’t get very far and have “lost”. I’m not going to tell you any lame excuses, I could have done it easily, if only I’d done it. So… Where does this leave us?

Right in the middle of December, I’d say. Alright, not the middle, but you know what I mean. Actually, December has been much more varied and fun than November so far and although I usually don’t get into any Christmassy spirit until (roughly) December 23rd, I’m well ahead this time. These are some of the things that have happened in December so far:

  • My sister and I had the first winter-time-tea with our grandma (and supposedly an elderly neighbour, but she forgot us…), featuring lots of candles, tea with fresh ginger, lemon and honey, dried apples from my uncle’s garden, grapefruit, mandarines and candied ginger. I tried my hand at photographing a still life, but I struggled with the background… How do you blend that out?

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  • On the morning of the second (1st Advent), me and the dog went for our morning walk in the first real snow of the year – fresh, crunchy, untouched snow – what a joy! Half a minute after taking this picture, a fox came along this path, stopped, stared at us for a second, then retreated into the hedge. I wasn’t quick enough with the camera to capture him and Nobby (featured in the photo) didn’t notice anything until he reached the spot where the fox had stood, where he sniffed, became excited, disappeared into the hedge and wasn’t seen again for the next couple of minutes. (nothing happened, he’s much too slow for any wildlife…)

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  • When Nobby and I got back, my sister and I put up the Christmas decoration around the house, most notably the beautiful window stars that our youngest sister makes. We knew we’d be in deep trouble with her as well as with our Mum if we didn’t put them up. We do love them, however, so it’s not hard to remember them. They always look lovely, but they do especially so when it’s snowy (so that the background is all white) and the sun lights them up from behind.

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  • A friend came to spend the day with us (which meant a train ride of two hours one way!) and after drinking lots of hot tea and coffee and eating mandarines and winter confectionery, we let our inner artists out (well, I did – my sister and our friend are artists, so their inner artist is also their outer artist… am I making sense?) and made some Christmas cards. This is one that my sister made, which is much prettier than anything I did:

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  • And then we made lots and lots and lots of Christmas cookies!

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  • And last (for now), I tried to take photos of snowflakes this morning, but as much as I love my camera, I think it’s not quite enough for that task…

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So, how has November left you? And what’s your December like so far?

And incidentally – which one of the two “snowflake” pictures do you like better? Or don’t you like them at all? I can’t make up my mind – feedback is greatly appreciated!