Monday, November 9, 2009

180 degree turn


East Capitol and 7th St. SE.

In a dark time, the eye begins to see. --T. Roethke

By the time I finish work these days, it's dark outside. So I'm taking pics at night, and enjoying them very much. The eerie orangeish streetlights reflected from the trees creates such interesting scenes. Some of the recent shots look like they were taken underwater, others appear otherworldly (both pics attached to this post are otherworldly, but I'll post an underwater shot sometime soon).

Only a couple of years ago at this time of year, my habit was to spiral downwards into the dark. I dreaded the early sunsets, tucked myself away in my inner sanctum and ... well ... felt sorry for myself. The holidays brought up in me a profound sadness and loneliness. Always a few chips short of a fish dinner in terms of being mainstream, the holidays, once upon a recent time, reminded me in no uncertain terms that I am a freak.

Something changed last year, though. I can't explain why, but I enjoyed the holidays last year, very much so. Externally the pattern was the same as in years past: the days were short and while everyone else gathered with family, children, partners and friends, I watched Hugh Grant movies while eating brown rice and steamed veggies (on Thanksgiving) and more Hugh Grant movies on Christmas. Unlike years past, I had fun, felt happy and got a kick out of the movies. Weird, eh?

The most profound transformations - for me at least - are always the result of a change of heart. Having an open mind helps a lot, but there's something about the human heart that can bring about miraculous healings, seemingly from out of the nowhere.

I find myself this year actually looking forward to the holidays. Whatever it was that happened last year was an enduring change of heart. Life is so amazing that way. You just never know what's going to happen. The early sunsets are providing me with new ways to look at the world, and some fun photos as well, and I'm looking forward to the holidays. All I can say is: wow.


N. Carolina, close to Eastern Market.

21 comments:

Reya Mellicker said...

I know this is the second post in a week I've written about the upcoming holidays. Clearly I am blown away by the shift.

Apologies for being redundant.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

No apologies necessary. I find it refreshing that you are looking forward to the holidays. They (holidays)are always difficult for me. I find myself tradition-less and have struggled to create a tradition for the G-man & me. Maybe this year...
Keep showing these lovely photos, I especially like the 2nd one. :-}

Joanne said...

Liking the change in perspective here of your world photographed at dusk. There's a certain illumination to them that is revealing. Maybe a parallel to your change in perspective re the holidays?

The Bug said...

I used to be a Christmas freak - mostly because my mother was & she was contagious. Since she died in 2005 the holidays have seemed . . . weird. Like we're going through the motions of what Mom would have wanted us to do. This year will be VERY hard because Dr. M's mom is in a nursing home & may or may not know who he is. I'm feeling a bit grim about it all - just gonna put my head down & get through it.

But perhaps I can salvage the holiday for us by participating in Advent. It's such a hopeful season - maybe we can grab onto that & hang on for dear life...

California Girl said...

Holidays bring hope. That's how I see them.

JC said...

I come from a small family. It's just me & my sister now. She & I don't get together on Holidays. A phone call but that's it.

My H's side of the family all get together. Which we did for fourteen years before I said no more.

I enjoy just the small family dinner with a nice day planned.

It's really just a day. The Holiday Season is what is fun. The movies, snow, decorations etc.

Enjoy ...

Butternut Squash said...

I am happy that you have made peace with the holidays. My husband and I have always created a family of friends to share holidays with us because are own families were until recently too far away. *My mind is now chewing over piles of holiday tales. Thanks for the inspiration.

ellen abbott said...

Not being a christian, I find all the hoopla over christmas to be tiresome. Especially the notion that anything bad that happens this time of year is exponentially worse because of the timing. As if the people who suffer at other times of the year, their pain is not as intense.

I used to really hate going out and being bludgeoned by the holidays, was always glad for the quiet respite between dec 25 and jan 1.

I've been less annoyed the last couple of years though. Don't know what that means.

I just don't do holidays. That said, Husband wants to host Thanksgiving here at the country house this year. I like the idea, our transition is almost complete and we have lots to be thankful for.

Nancy said...

We got snowed in last Christmas, family unable to make it up to the Lake, us unable to go down to Reno. Girls unable to fly in. We were initially disappointed - first Christmas without our family. Then we realized it is just a day, and is over in the same amount of time as any other day. You can always "spoil" yourself with a nice dinner and Hugh Grant movies. Like someone else said, enjoy the holiday season. That's what it is all about. For me at least. I'm not putting big expectations on them anymore, and feel much less stressed, and more open to the little joys that come along the way.

lakeviewer said...

Love these pictures! Do you have a special camera, or special techniques, or what? I want to be able to do this.

Holidays can take us to extremes. Glad to know you are looking forward to them.

NanU said...

I used to be a holiday curmudgeon. My family didn't have much in the way of traditions unless they involved a lot of sitting still in uncomfortable clothes. But me too, I've turned a corner, lightened up, jettisoned the old ways, decided not to be so annoyed at the commercialization of peace and good will. And the holidays are great now.
Enjoy!

Steve said...

I've been having fun with night photography, too -- inspired by your suggestion. :)

I hate seeing all the Christmas stuff in the stores. Ugh. And it's not that I dislike Christmas -- I just dislike all the hubbub, the same stuff that everyone else dislikes. (Hmmm...I feel a future post coming on...)

Reya Mellicker said...

Interesting that Nancy, Ellen and I have lightened up during the last couple of years. I like that - whatever it means or doesn't mean. Hmmm....

the shift, for me, is a way different interpretation of one of my foundational personal myths: I hate the holidays. Except - I don't hate them!

ArtSparker said...

I admit I'm still waiting for the shift...but good to hear it can happen.

Verily I go. said...

I love these night shots, so very cool looking. You keep me in smiles all the time, Reya. I'm thrilled you are so happy. You rock! xo

Pauline said...

wow is right - those photos are marvelous! As for the heart changing, it always does...

madtexter (corey james) said...

Great job on the pix. They look great (as always!) I enjoy the Nov/Dec holidays, but it sometimes seems like the biggest contradiction to me. A wonderful time to gather with friends and family, but yet sad for those folks who are alone, and have no one to celebrate with.

(BTW, the pix of Jake in his blue sweater is adorable. Just makes me wanna schmooch his face. I'm still sad when I think of the loss of our dog, Alexei, last year. I still find his stray red hairs laying around the house from time to time. It's like he never left.)

ewix said...

Oddly, some of our best Christmases were in Morocco....when it was hard to get decorations
but we handmade cards
and our neighbors said 'bonne noel'
and the trees arrived after the holiday....
and we did not HAVE to do anything.

steven said...

you remember this eh reya: "to everything (turn, turn, turn)
there is a season (turn, turn, turn)
and a time to every purpose, under heaven"
even if it's a half turn!!!!!!
steven

Reya Mellicker said...

Steven that song has been going through my mind for several days! Wow.

Barbara Martin said...

These photos have a real ethereal quality to them!

There's a bright light in the darkness for all of us should we care to look.

The upcoming holidays will bring you something special, Reya. I'm sure you'll let us know when it occurs.

As for Steven's song, Reya, you've just been dowsed with synchronicity.