There is something very melancholic about the end of November. The second half of this penultimate month in a year carries a certain nostalgic feel to it. Particularly here in the cold North, where it is defined by cloudy skies, damp, misty air and a barren landscape.
By now, all the foliage is gone. The golden, copper and fiery red colours are replaced by a multitude shades of grey. As we stand between seasons, our world grows monochrome. It resembles a foggy canvas upon which bare tree branches are painted like dark brush strokes against the twilight sky.
Thus it is time for me to conclude the progressive photography of our lovely birch tree, at least for this season.
It stands now all dormant in our front yard, appearing lifeless, entering its winter sleep. What a difference a span of three months can make - one can not believe that the first and last picture below is indeed taken in the same spot. Gone is the juice green and even the copper hue. The beautiful azure heavens and platinum sunshine. All that remains is a charcoal tree drawn against a transparent anthracite background.
Unless snow will cover its branches a few weeks down the road, I will return with a new update first next year, to take you on the opposite journey through the spring and into early summer, recording the return of the beautiful leaves of our silver birch.
I wonder if any of you recall my lovely Christmas Cactus. It has been in my possession for almost four years. Each November, its inner clock triggers it into a lovely bloom - it never fails.
This year is no exception.
Adorned by numerous pink flowers, the plant seems to be thriving, having survived the relocation and the fact that half of it perished in the summer, due to my own neglect.
I have recently realized it is also called Thanksgiving Cactus, which I think is a name much better fitting this enchanting plant, blooming with uncanny precision during the eleventh month, signalling in no uncertain terms that the Holiday Season is once more about to begin.
My life is slowly returning to somewhat routine tracks, yet again, not quite. I have entered a novel existence and I guess it only dawned on me first very recently that I have truly moved on.
I have lived in my new home for almost five months now, however it was first after I removed all my possessions from the white house, seeing it become a home to someone new, when I realized that the familiar and safe has been left in the past. It is as if I have waited for a very delayed departure and am finally preparing to lift off. Being now beyond the point of no return, it will be endlessly exciting to learn whether my new found wings will indeed bear.
I am not alone though. For the first time in in a very long while do I not feel alone. I have found a partner, who is like a steady and strong jet stream in the sky and who will keep me airborne.
It is somehow so refreshing to be at last in a relationship with a man who is so relaxed in his own skin and who makes me feel safe and secure. I have realized today in retrospect that all the men I was ever seriously involved with - however great they all were - never really knew what they wanted - with their own life or with me.
More sadly, they all had strange and hidden insecurities and they own agendas and even though an infatuation, I was not really ever their priority. Thus I kept on struggling (sometimes for years) to make it so, trying to make something out of nothing, until I eventually realized that I had to walk away. Each time I kept wondering whether a man existed to whom I simply would be enough.
Today, in the light of my new reality, I can conclude that relationships when they are right, take no effort whatsoever - no matter what people say. As with anything that is alive, they will only strive if nurtured and cared for - but that is in my eyes not effort but the essence of being in love. And additionally a great deal of fun, despite some challenges.
It is amusing to watch how we humans adapt. I have been through many changes in my life and today I am so aware of the process, paying so much more attention to it, then I ever did before. We are all creatures of habit and thus I too am slowly adapting certain habits and routines in my new home, as I have done in some many homes before. There is a difference this time around as I have never before lived with children.
They are not my children, yet I love them more by each passing day. I endlessly enjoy the time when we are all gathered around the dinner table and I listen to their vivid story telling and laughs, watching them with their father. Their occasional presence in our house brings into my life that joy that was missing in it at all times, that innocent perspective and a fresh outlook. I savour those stolen moments, when I get a glimpse into what could have been, if my destiny wanted otherwise. At times it leaves me with bittersweet tears, but ultimately, it brings my way a sense of endless happiness and the realization that a family comes in all shape and sizes and that our children do not have to be our flesh and blood.
This in its turn has made me realize that everything in life unfolds the way it should be and that all will eventually
I worry less about petty things and as I relax, events simply unfold, setting everything in the right direction, without my effort. There is something in the saying "to go with the flow". On several occasions recently have I found myself in certain dispositions, but I simply refused to let these situations bring me down. Eventually they all resolved on their own, to my great astonishment.
If we keep thinking positive, positive things will come our way - I have touched upon this subject before, but as of recently this is becoming the foundation to my thinking. My old reflections now viewed upon new windows make me see my life in a truly new light.
And at last I like what I see.
That is the last image of the white house imprinted in my memory.
Yet, also smiling faces of my new tenants ready to move in.
A deliciously melancholic mix.
Nevertheless, I have now left my former home behind, in the hands of a new family.
But not before I spend one very last weekend there getting it ready for the new occupants.
I was very appropriately alone, as my man was once again out of town through his work and this final stay was exactly as I envisioned it would be; strenuous, endless work mixed with wonderfully bittersweet recollections.
The house parted with me in style - I got to see a magnificent sunrise and a stunning late fall sunset. I watched a large red moon rise in the north and I enjoyed the warmth of the fire and the beautiful westbound views - all for one last time.
Finally, I lit one last candle in the old lantern, the one that once - those eighth years ago - held the first candle light when I moved in...
I got to say my good byes and now it is time for a new wonderful chapter in my life to start, one that I have been waiting for so long - my whole life it seems.
And I am looking forward to share it with all of you.
Those of you who have ever been moving know that it comes across like an endless process. Particularly the ultimate phase, when one is almost done and then again not quiet yet and when long days turn into late nights and all that remains is total exhaustion.
I am in that last phase right now and thus I have not been able to visit any of your lovely places, for which I apologize. I hope to do so as soon as my life returns to a somewhat familiar routine, which will be shortly.
The house is though now almost empty. It's rooms echo my footsteps and the music streaming out of the radio, reminding me of the time when I moved in. Serendipitously this was also in the month of November, thus I feel my time there has come full circle.
As I was collecting the last of my potted plants from my back terrace the other day, just when dusk was settling over the neighborhood ending a foggy, drizzly late autumn day, I had to pause for a moment as a feeling of familiarity overcame me. The place came across so barren and deserted, so empty of life, just like it did those eight years ago.
Then I saw it.
A single November Rose blooming in all its splendor on my old rosebush, this late in the year, when everything else in nature seems lifeless.
It came across as a beautiful sign of hope and a sweet fragrant gift which the house bestows upon me as I say my farewells. A miracle of nature confirming the fact that everything in life is truly connected.
(I managed to take these two snapshots with my old Nikon Coolpix, which I had with me, just before it run out of battery.)
Once again that time has come. I am now moving all my possessions, being in the process of packing all I own into boxes and hauling my belongings into storage, in close proximity of my new residence. I do this not alone however, but with the help of a pair of very strong and capable hands, belonging to a man that stole my heart and who has brought my way incredible happiness.
And who has given me a new home.
The white house on the hill is about to become definitely abandoned by me, as a new family is moving in - if only as tenants. New life is going to be housed within its walls, as the rooms will resonate with laughter of children and feelings of love. This notion calms my mind and lifts my spirits, infusing me with a content that thrills me on so many levels.
The past week has therefore seen me hard at work, as I (we) packed and sorted out and mostly disposed of all that junk that I have collected over the years.
It was incredibly liberating.
I have moved numerous times in my life. As a child, I was uprooted on many occasions by my parents, who possessed (and still do) the heart of gypsies and an adventurous mind. This must be qualities that I inherited as well - I have likewise traveled the world and have laid down my hat in many countries (and even two continents). Thus one can say I am at this point quiet proficient at relocating. Still, it does not get any easier and the stir of emotions is very much the same.
There is something very sentimental about ending something, no matter how much we long to see it end. It is a very odd sensation, when our dreams do come true. It feels highly exhilarating, yet concomitantly there is that feel of anticlimax, as if there is suddenly a void left behind in our perception, until we establish new desires and dream new dreams.
Thus currently I experience mixed emotions of excitement and happiness, yet as well a slight sting of melancholy and maybe a certain gentle sadness, as I part with my former home.
My white house on the hill has seen me through an important part of my life, one that has been filled with unforgettable moments and an immense personal growth, bringing me here where I am today. It has given me shelter and provided me with a safe haven, during my perpetual quest for happiness. It has seen me age almost a decade, through such intense years that defined me in a very profound way.
I embrace this recent change, because it feels good and so very right, something that is confirmed to me undoubtedly by each new day. I do not know what the future will bring, nor am I willing to contemplate that, as I relish in that uncertainty.
All I have is my past, which fills me with no regrets and my present which fills me with excitement. It instigates in me a thrill about what is yet to come, as I embark on a journey of a new fulfilling personal era.
This somewhat ominous title is actually a small excerpt from the lyrics to a song made by the band Imagination, called "Hold Me In Your Arms". For those of you who might be interested, there is a clip in the end of this post.
I own their album Closer, purchased as a tape almost twenty five years ago and it is right now on constant reply in my car, keeping me company on my very long drive home each day - after dark.
I love this album and I love this song in particular.
I love it's soulful harmonies and the eighties sound and I enjoy endlessly the memories as they come streaming back, while I recollect my youth to the gentle beats and the so very catching chorus.
Additionally, the mentioned words seem to sum up the period of the year we have just entered in a truly eloquent way.
November, together with December, account for the darkest month here in the cold North. This is the onset of time when twilight rules our days and when indeed, "darkness is our light".
I have mixed feelings about the increasing lack of light. Driving home after the onset of darkness makes for a very unpleasant ride, particularly during heavy rain storms when all I can see through the windshield is a distorted play of lights, resembling a watercolor painting.
Yet the twilight holds also a certain allure, as it instigates a sense of rest. It indicates that everything in nature is now slowly winding down and a period of stillness is ahead. Thus it beckons us to do the same - to retreat to our homes and enjoy the subtle lights of candles and the company of our loved ones.
As I have grown older, I have found novel joy in each season. The darkness of November has truly too its function, if only to reinforce our joy in the month of June, the month of light, balancing out our reality and putting everything into perspective.
(All images in this post are taken on our recent trip across the Danish Islands and in our home.)
I was born under the Tatra Mountains, to a Czech father and a Slovak mother. I grew up in Sweden and lived almost ten years in North Carolina.
More than a decade ago my line of work took me to Denmark, where I live today. My home, which I share with the man that holds my heart, lies in the northerly part of a Danish peninsula, in the proximity of endless, wide and pristine westbound sandy beaches, surrounded by the rough and untamed North Sea.
My writing is defined by reflections on my cosmopolitan past and my intriguing present. Ultimately I try to convey in words and images my personal thoughts and feelings about life itself, with all its magic, natural splendour and the beauty of simple pleasures.