Tuesday, June 22, 2010

season's greetings

We bought this wondrous new ornament at a second-hand shop that's just opened nearby, and discovered on the box that it is a Weihnachts pyramide, or Christmas pyramid. Apparently they are very big (figuratively and literally) in Europe. The idea is to light the candles around the bottom, and the warm air sets the fan at the top spinning, which makes all the little people inside spin too. We fired it up on the night we bought it and turned off all the lights. Hard to say which member of the family was more mesmerised, although the looks on the girls' faces (all three of them) were priceless. It occurred to me that most traditional Christmas activities are much more enjoyable when it's cold outside. Hot lunch, open fires, carol-singing. And how sweet would it be to give hand-knitted mittens and scarves as Christmas gifts, if only it wasn't 35 degrees.

This is quite the turnaround for me, if you'll forgive the somewhat obvious reference to the above. In years past I would dread winter - in fact I'd start dreading it in early Autumn, thus missing the beautiful leaves changing colour and instead gritting my teeth against the coming cold. My jaw would only unclench some time in Spring, and not because of the signs I now cherish - tiny buds on the peach tree, green shoots defiant against grey skies - but only when the weather turned warm.

I credit the girls' school with my newfound appreciation of the seasons. They have such a focus on nature and its changes throughout the year, learning poems and stories that are based around the seasons and all their glory. It is a rare thing in this part of Australia to embrace winter. We tend to kid ourselves that we're living in the tropics, and try to shut out the cold by shutting down. I'm learning that embracing the cold can warm you very effectively from the inside.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

layin' everybody low with a love song that he made

I was thinking the other day, as you do, what my favourite song of all time would be. Naturally I could not make such an immense decision, but I did go as far as making a shortlist, and this song would be way up there on that list. It makes me cry every single time I hear it, for lots of reasons. It's so filled with teenage angst and that heart-shattering love that you think might actually kill you. And while I love it, I don't actually own a copy of it, so I Googled it today and found out that some hip band called The Killers, which I think the young people are listening to these days, has done a cover version. It does do the song justice, which apparently the lead singer feared it may not, although his voice tends to prove that nobody other than Mark Knopfler can bring it down so low it makes your knees give way. But then it also got me thinking that if any man on the planet sang this song for me, whether he could hold a note or not, I would be his forever. Right after I picked myself up off the floor. And I can say this secure in the knowledge that it will never happen.

Can't do anything, but I'd do anything for you.
Can't be anything 'cept be in love with you.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

this way up

Call me what you will - daydreamer, stargazer, procrastinator, bubble girl - but I can't get enough of the great big blue skies these days, when the sun is performing under duress but still managing a magnificent show (even if it does end early). It may be a little light on substance, but for me the wide blue yonder is the closest thing I have to religion. Even when it's more grey than blue, just look at those clouds. It's like your own private viewing of the Sistine Chapel, minus the queues and price of admission. Doesn't matter what the day holds, what ungodly state the world is in, the house is in, your mind is in. Go outside, look up and open your eyes. I defy you not to be amazed.