The gift that is Advent

Christmas is my favourite holiday, and my general motto “more is more” is never truer than in December. We have a big house, and so we have to have a lot of decorations. It’s logic, you see?

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Silly Advent pig candle stick from my childhood. *Sigh* 🙂

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Aaaand snow! Nowadays it’s not always a given during Advent, so I’m really pleased that we got a fluffy white layer for the start of the Christmas season.

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Sometimes I hear people say that they can’t summon any Christmas feeling, and then when you have a look at their house, there isn’t any Christmas Stuff. Well, duh. Christmas doesn’t just happen. It’s up to us to create it!

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Which is why I’m sharing a silly little video of me doing just that. 🙂 (And listening to some music that has nothing to do with Christmas but which has still become tradition for me at this time of year. Not logical!)

Here’s wishing you a lovely holiday season, whichever way you celebrate!

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Moon drops

We’ve been slighted by the super moon – yesterday all you could see was a blanket of clouds. Tonight the blanket has thinned somewhat, and the quite ordinary-looking but still spectacular-as-always moon is peeping through.

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It’s November with a vengeance. Gothic weather and darkness enough to satisfy the most ravenous nyctophile.

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On a night like this, a simple stroll through the village has the feel of a Hallmark postcard.

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I love the contrast between the cold glare of the moon and the orange glow of the streetlamps. As if painted by a master.

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As long as we’re lying…

… we might as well do it in style. Last night’s harvest comes with the same disclaimer as yesterday. Don’t be fooled by the colours, but do enjoy. 🙂

My first trip yielded quite little. The odd star here and there. The sky was not at all this deep, rich blue colour, but otherwise it’s pretty accurate.

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Since it was still a bit too bright, I went inside and did my back exercices. Then I went out again, because I saw something flicker in the sky and suspected that it was the aurora again. The dark path I walked crackled with frost and everything glittered in the light from my mobile. When I snapped my first picture, there it was.

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And although this is as far from starless as you can come, I have to finally mention the concert I went to last Saturday. King Crimson. Oh wow. I mean, I knew they were good, but I wasn’t expecting my soul to be forced open.

I can’t really describe it, which is kind of weird for an author. “I were but little happy if I could say how much,” as Shakey would have it. But during Starless and Bible Black, I closed my eyes, and this is what I saw.

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During the instrumental part, it felt like I lived through an entire night, with an anguished dawn at the end. As if it was programme music. I just felt it. Like a van Gogh painting, or maybe Munch. Amazing.

And 21st Century Schizoid Man? They could have gone on playing the same song for an hour, and I wouldn’t have minded. I was at the edge of my seat. The drum solo pounded in my blood. I was there.

POSSIBLE PAX SPOILER AHEAD

And now I’m wondering… maybe I should let Michael and Jamie go to a resurrected King Crimson concert as a full-circle thing in the fifth and final Pax book? The reason Jamie decided to be friends with Michael despite his reticence was literally, and I quote, “a live King fucking Crimson album”! 😀 It would be such a nice wink at the past, and a love note to a band I only discovered a couple of years ago.

The opposite of an author’s revenge. 🙂

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The truth about lies

Last night was cold. Really cold. Before I went out, I wondered if I could wear sandals, but I settled for wellies. And good thing I did, because before I came back home, my toes were deep frozen.

So. What happens around here when there’s a sudden shift towards colder temperatures? I’ll tell you what doesn’t happen. This:

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And yet there’s the proof, right there. So what’s going on here?

Well, for about a week now, online forums have gone crazy over the aurora borealis, which are apparently very active right now. So yesterday evening while I was looking for a dark spot to photograph the starry vault, I guess I had the northern lights at the back of my mind.

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So when I was giving up on the lake because there were too many streetlamps, I glanced towards the north and thought, “That sure is a very visible cloud. Hm. I wonder if it could possibly  be…” And I turned my camera towards the pale grey formation in the sky and clicked the shutter.

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This is what the camera saw. Not me. Beautiful, yes, but a total lie. When I came home, I even tried to desaturate the colours and change a load of settings to show what it really looks like, but I couldn’t. The camera sees something I can’t see, and I can’t make it show my point of view. The closest I can come is this:

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And yet it’s too green, but if I adjust it more, the rest of the picture becomes too red.

So why am I telling you this? Why am I not just hopping on the bandwagon and spreading a false but beautiful image of what my country is like? Because it gives rise to false expectations and false jealousy. It’s like the mask of happiness and success so many people are struggling so hard to keep in place: it’s not real. The makeup that covers up the dark circles – it looks fantastic, but it’s an illusion.

I won’t pretend that I’ve ever seen a clear, neon green sheet dancing above the treetops, because it just isn’t true. The truth is that you can see faint, pale wisps of light sweeping across the night sky like ghosts, and if you’ve never been unduly primed by the barrage of crazy-green pictures on social media, that’s quite breath-taking enough.

Then again, what if this is what foxes see? Or birds? Or beings we don’t even know about? If the camera lens can see it, maybe other creatures can too? Maybe this is simply a lesson: if someone else says they can see something I can’t see, the fault just might lie with me. Perhaps humans are the only ones on Earth who can’t see what’s really there.

Food for thought as we continue to wipe out our fellow inhabitants.

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