St Lucia’s Day and the light we’ve been missing

Today is Santa Lucia, the day of light in a very dark winter.
It is celebrated on the 13. of December, on the winter solstice that used to be known as the longest night of the year, when the sun would turn on its heel and come back. It was a day for mischief on the farms and for strange things happening, and for candles lighting up the dark.

On Santa Lucia (or St Lucy’s Day) we sing for the the light to come back. We light up the dark corners of our homes with candles, wear crowns made of lights, eat lussekatt-pastries to get us through the cold, and wait for morning and the rising sun. We celebrate and thank the dark winter months, while preparing for longer days of sun to come.

This was my attempt at lighting up the corners of my home, however, as I live in a rather small student flat, there was no way to do this without setting off the fire alarm. I am very lucky, though, to have a pretty thick forest right outside of my home, and it was wonderful to start this project off in darkness and then see how the candles lit up the space around me. Complete silence, the only sounds were the drips of yesterday’s rain that still clung on to the branches and the chirk of the matches being lit.

Image by Christina Zetterberg from Pixabay

This video has been a bit of an experiment; a one-take-attempt. I only gave myself one try to record the song, and the video was all done in one go, too. The song because I wanted to see how it would turn out; the video because I was filming outside at night in a cold (and very dark) forest.

And a note on safety: it had been raining for three weeks straight before I filmed this video on the one day with no precipitation, so the ground was soaked, and not particularly prone to catching fire. Just in case, though, behind the tree in the corner of the video, I had two fire extinguishing aerosols and a fire blanket waiting. Candles are wonderful, and when small flickering flames come together they can really light up a space, but I’d rather not light up the whole forest. Be safe with fire! x

I hope your winter time is filled with light.

-Andrea

November Tale

We’re so close to Christmas, it’s practically here!

This is the second to last of these posts I’ll be making this year and how has it almost been a year since I started this project? Now, eleven months into it, I’m really appreciating these snippets of everyday. I’m so excited to, come January, mash all the months together and see the colours of the months, the change of the seasons, and what may practically be the essence of 2019.

But first, let’s contemplate November and what that brought with it!

  • I gave NaNoWriMo my best shot, and though I didn’t get to 50 000 words I’m really proud of how far I got!
  • Work work and a bit more work
  • Walks in the forest behind the student village
  • Tons of exam reading
  • A lot of meetings and student politics-work
  • My parents visiting, and a lovely concert with my mum!
  • A Christmas market
  • A very messy student flat as both my flatmate and I are mid-exams
  • The first snow of the winter!
  • Many an early morning
  • The first two exams of the semester (two down, two more to go)
  • A wonderful early Christmas dinner with Trine and her family
  • So many cups of tea

I hope you have a wonderful day!
-Andrea

February Wrap Up

And just like that, February wrapped itself up in its big, woolen scarf and took off. See you in a year, it said, as it tottered away.

February brought with it:

  • New and exciting job opportunities
  • Copious amounts of tea
  • A lot of Sophie
  • Midnight kitchen dancing
  • So many assignments and study groups en mass
  • 11 postcards sent and 10 received
  • New friends
  • An embroidery project that’s bigger than anything I’ve ever done before
  • Huge changes to plans I’d already made (good ones, though, so it’s okay)
  • An IKEA nightstand that needed much love and attention
  • A need to be creative again
  • One poem and one creative piece accepted for publication
  • Sun

Here’s to March being just as good, if not better than February turned out to be.

-Andrea

“First snow”

My garden’s been eaten by fresh bedsheets of snow,
it’s covering every inch of grass,
blanketing the city,
hushing it,
making it move a little slower than normal.
Winter tires, snow boots, layers of scarves to keep out the chill.
“It rarely snows like it used to,”
we say most winters, and we solemnly nod,
“global warming and the environment and all that.”
But for now, the sky is glittering,
with a million frozen dancers
who twirl and curtsy
like they did in the old days,
to an orchestra only they can hear.

-Andrea

 

M2 Musings: Frost Smoke and Dragons’ Breath

I know it’s technically still autumn for a good two months, but it was two degrees Celsius on my way to uni this morning, so it feels more like winter than anything else and so this week’s M2 Musings’s a bit more wintery than the seasons might indicate. I like it, though! Time for huge, big scarves, thick gloves and chunky jumpers, hot chocolate, old and familiar book favourites, and curling up under the softest blankets.

If you’re new to my little M2 Musings project, you can click here to read the original post, and here to read the rest of the M2 poems, if you want to!

-Andrea

Journal #4

Cafe 004I’ve always been one to enjoy my own company. Don’t get me wrong, I do love being around people, and quiet days without anyone to talk to can make me go stir crazy, but still, at the end of the day, I always need a bit of me-time. Some peace and space to just be. However, lately I’ve started thinking about how this me-time always means staying in. Me-time is quiet-time, it’s pyjamas and knitting and another chapter of my favourite book. Days like that are of course perfectly fine and sometimes also very necessary, but it made me think about how I use the terms me-time and quiet-time interchangeably, when they’re actually quite different concepts (to me, anyway, I’m not trying to speak for introverts everywhere!)

Quiet time is needed when your head is full. When your mind is spinning with other people’s ideas and you just need some time with your own thoughts. Quiet time is for when you don’t want any kind of input, when you just want to hide away. Nights like these are the pyjamas-and-facemask nights, the nights you need to take a bit more care of yourself, to charge the batteries and just be you.

Me-time, however, is when you’re just not that into talking to people, but also don’t feel the need to hide away. It’s when you don’t mind having others around, you just don’t particularly want to talk to anyone. I realise that this sounds quite negative, but it’s really not meant to be. I have found, that when me-time is needed, I don’t really want to keep conversations and react to people, I just want to observe? I want to be around people, but not have them acknowledge me; at least no more than a polite nod, a smile, a hello.

Third year of uni has found me needing a bit more me-time, as the dissertation, assignments and commitments have piled up. I’ve found myself feeling restless during quiet-time, which I never did before, and have been able to identify it as a “I don’t want to be alone right now, but I also don’t want to talk to anyone.”

Cafe 001

This is a very rambly post, as I’m still trying to make sense of this in my own brain. However, as a challenge to myself, and to test out the theory about the difference between quiet-time and me-time, I’m going to start taking myself out for coffee sometimes. Right now I’m sat at Cafè Winchester with a cream tea (peppermint) and my laptop. I can’t remember a time I ever sat down at a cafè on my own, without waiting for anyone, without just quickly grabbing something to go. I like it, though! Not as a profound “I am brave enough to be alone with my thoughts”-sort of way (I really don’t like that whole idea and attitude), it’s just nice to hear people chatter and talk around me and know that I don’t have to partake in their conversations.

Does any of this make sense? Or does it just make me sound like an awful person who’d rather listen to other people talk than keep conversations going, themselves?
I don’t know. But this tea is really good, and I’m quite content right now.

 

TL;DR: Sometimes you just want to drink tea and eat scones and listen to other people do the talking, and that’s okay, too.

-Andrea

“Norwegian winters”

They moved into number 24 at the age of 23.
Brown doors needed new locks, the garage was falling apart,
but they rolled up their sleeves and went to work.
When Winter and his winds flew down from the north
and blew snow right in where the windows were supposed to be,
they dreamt of a red-brick fireplace and a double bed,
a door you could close and proper curtains.
Outside, the snow grayed like a father of three,
and the leaves wrinkled up like fishermen’s hands
as icicles hung from the roof;
swords and slippery ladders.

He brought hot chocolate in pink elephant mugs,
and an extra pair of socks for cold feet.
She went to bed on the living room floor,
a single mattress with room for two.
It was one of those nights, where the snow and the street lights tried to outshine each other,
and the wind played lullabies through the cracks in the ceiling.

Come here, she said from her spot on the floor,
it’s a night for stomach kisses and seven pairs of mittens.

Andrea Wold Johansen 003

-Andrea