I have been truly surprised by how much I have needed to hibernate this month. January has felt grey, and incredibly cold, and if I am honest, slightly oppressive. My day job has not slowed at all, and I have had a number of days off sick (there is nothing quite like arriving back on the 7th only to need to take most of the rest of the week off due to illness!). So that side of my life has not felt slow at all. But I have actively slowed the rest of my time.
This has meant being satisfied to go home at the end of the work day, curl up on the couch and read. It has meant one yoga class a week – either on Saturday or Wednesday. It has meant not going out a lot at all. It has meant nights of candles and blankets.
As the month has gone on, I have started to notice the coming of the light. When I leave for work in the mornings, and when I leave work in the afternoon, it is still light. One morning this past week the sun emerged, a red-orange-gold orb on the horizon, the sky tinged pink. It was a reminder of the coming light, a welcome wave hello from a friend who has been away a while. I breathed a sigh when I saw it. The return of light is such a comfort.
The clear cold nights have also sent me Orion, visible low on the eastern horizon just after sunset. I have always loved the Orion constellation, it was the first one I learnt to spot in the night sky. But I love it even more now because it is visible in both hemispheres. It is a reminder that home is not so far away after all.
Books I have read this month
Transcription by Kate Atkinson – truly wonderful book. I read it in three days because I could not put it down. London, World War Two, spies, dogs… Quite a delight.
The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. My mom and I watched the movie over Christmas and then I wanted to re-read it. It was quite as wonderful as the first time. Juliet’s voice in the letters is full of energy and enthusiasm. She feels like a friend. Re-reading the book has made me want to plan a trip to the Channel Islands this summer.
Christmas Days by Jeanette Winterton. I finished this early in January, still on holiday in Spain. It is a collection of short stories interspersed with personal essays. Loved every minute of it.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. This is another re-read. I found it in Scarthin Books and felt it deserved another go. A- is reading it in Spanish at the same time as me, something we have not done before! I still find the descriptions of women in the novel unnerving, which I think is what put me off the first time. It is jarring, the way some character talk to/about/for the women in the book. I am going to try read the next one in the series, but if this continues I may have to stop.
Things I have written this month
Places We Swim on the Outdoor Swimming Society
Things I read and listened to this month
The treasure behind the wall NYT
I (re)listened to ‘Lisiting to the world‘, a conversation with Mary Oliver, following her passing this month.
Writing a book – advice from Maggie O’Farrell.
Ideas about digital minimalism.
Hope it has been a good month! x