Gray, dull, wet, cozy, lovely.

Many people don’t like to have birthdays in winter. As for me, equatorial summer baby, now in my element after decades of sweating on the fourteenth day of the year, I couldn’t be more at home. January is an almost universally detested month here. And now it’s one of my favorites. Coffee, Wilko’s pick and mix, scented candles, new mobile phone, pretty books, dirty mirrors, red manicure. Bring on the cake tomorrow. And maybe a little more rain.

Merry Christmas.

❝I hope you find a cozy home in yourself instead of wishing you were more this or less that. I hope you see something in yourself worth loving and protecting. I hope you find something that brings you comfort and lessens the loneliness. I hope you go on long walks and drink your favourite tea. I hope you have books, daydreams, paintbrushes, music and other escapes to hold on to when you have nothing else. I hope you continue to try even when you’re tired and can’t see the end. I hope unexpected good things come to surprise you. I hope you meet someone who lights up your life and makes up for all the goodbyes and endings that came before. I hope you’re going through your day and feel a sense of lightness all over and wonder to yourself, maybe it’s all going to be alright. I hope you make yourself proud. I hope you make new memories full of warmth and peace to replace the bad ones. I hope your heart will be surrounded with flowers, trees and stars. I hope everything gets better for you.❞

Wait and Hope.

“There is neither happiness nor unhappiness in this world; there is only the comparison of one state with another. Only a man who has felt ultimate despair is capable of feeling ultimate bliss. It is necessary to have wished for death in order to know how good it is to live… the sum of all human wisdom will be contained in these two words: wait and hope.”

— Alexandre Dumas

What the world needs: Lovers.

The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. but it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of every kind. it needs people who live well in their places. it needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. and these qualities have little to do with success as our culture has defined it.

— David Orr

Once the storm is over.

And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”    

— Haruki Murakami, “kafka on the shore”

It’s getting dark earlier. Winter is coming.

Good enough

October was … anticlimactic. A bit of a failure. Rain, rain and more rain, accompanied by a gale that tore the leaves from the trees in record time, long before I had the time, inclination and opportunity to go gaze at them. The shops, usually packed to the rafters with skulls and pumpkins, stood bereft of halloweeny crap. Everyone anticipated a very flat all hallow’s eve, and they were not wrong: a total of zero children knocked on my door in search of treats, and they were right. Risk getting a virus for a cheap chocolate? It doesn’t seem like a good exchange.

I ate all the sweets I bought just in case, watched some horror movies, listened to my (ever wonderful) halloween playlist, didn’t carve a jack o’lantern, barely decorated the house and went to bed on a sugar high, low spirits mood.

The good news is we are alive and well. And that’s good enough.

What the living do.

“Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably fell down there. And the Drano won’t work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes have piled up waiting for the plumber I still haven’t called. This is the everyday we spoke of.

It’s winter again: the sky’s a deep, headstrong blue, and the sunlight pours through the open living-room windows because the heat’s on too high in here and I can’t turn it off. For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street, the bag breaking, I’ve been thinking: This is what the living do.

And yesterday, hurrying along those wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my wrist and sleeve, I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: This is it.

Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you called that yearning.
What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and the winter to pass. We want whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss–we want more and more and then more of it.

But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass, say, the window of the corner video store, and I’m gripped by a cherishing so deep for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I’m speechless:

I am living. I remember you.”

– Marie Howe

The rain falls after the heatwave strikes.

High humidity, sticky sweat on the skin, slate grey clouds paving the sky and soon the thick drops will make music hitting the glass roof in the conservatory. And maybe thunder, to liven up the symphony. My soul sings along. Leaves are already starting to acquire coppery tones. The chestnut trees are changing. It seems like life is finally getting back on track. Nowhere near normal. But the return of some familiar scenes, weather that makes me feel good, being able to make plans or walk barefoot on the dry grass in my backyard picking up the green fruits the squirrels toss away from the oak tree… It sounds normal. It feels normal. It’s good enough. I’ll take it.

Come on over, Autumn. Not a day too late.

But all my lovers turn to friends.

“What happens is that you tend to gather around you very different types of people. It’s impossible to please everyone all the time, and even more so when you have to meet such varied expectations. The opinions that one person agrees with are not the same ones the other person wants to hear; the problem is that they’re both sitting at your table. Next time you wonder why is it that you seem to attract so much hate, remember this.”

Maybe it tastes like him when you got tears in your lips.

It’s funny to remember the late 90s and that promise of “connection at a global level” with the internet. Everyone excited about the possibility of making friends all over the world and expanding their contacts to unimaginable levels. Now the world is literally at our fingertips and yes, it’s easier to get in touch with people from far away to whom we feel connected to, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen people feeling so alone.

Everyone has become dependent on the internet for so many things that if the connection doesn’t happen online then we don’t know how to make it happen in real life anymore. This is a skill I have never developed, so it doesn’t make that much difference to me but I can’t help thinking that living inside the big network ended up hampering many of the skills needed to survive outside it.

You have to be kind.

“You don’t have to get a job that makes others feel comfortable about what they perceive as your success. You don’t have to explain what you plan to do with your life. You don’t have to justify your education by demonstrating its financial rewards. You don’t have to maintain an impeccable credit score. Anyone who expects you to do any of those things has no sense of history or economics or science or the arts.You have to pay your electric bill. You have to be kind. You have to give it all you got. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth. But that’s all.“

– Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar 

You talk like a man and taste like the sun.

My neighbour has gifted us two small tomato plants in return for something we’ve done for him (I have no idea what). Didn’t have the heart to tell him I have absolutely no idea on how to look after these things. I’m a lazy gardener at  best and not at all interested in growing food, but I’ll give it a go – until they’re finally dead and ready for the bin.

But will you look at my huge, lavender roses? Too beautiful.

The boy’s carbonara never fail to delight, the new decking has made the garden useable again, I had a truly ghastly experience with Starbucks’ new summer beverage (should have stuck with my beloved strawberries and cream frappuccino) but this sunset has cheered me up.

T’was a good day. The cat agrees.