Tuesday, 10 December 2013

My Christmastide wish list

The thing that I am most looking forward to at the moment is what the Germans call 'zwischen den Jahren'.  This is the time in between Christmas and New Year, when all the hysteria of partying and present giving subsides.

It is a gentle, grey time, where days can flicker into brightness - sometimes even startling sunlight - for a few hours, before the horizon is once again soothed with tangerine strokes of settling colour.  A crisis of cerise and then the greedy darkness of the long night takes hold.

This margin of time feels magical to me.  The year that is just passing releases it's hold over us; the year to come has not quite started yet.  Here then is time without demand, a secret time, rarely planned and with so little expectation placed over it, anything is possible...

My favourite time to write is late at night.  It's not so much that I'm a night owl, rather that the demands of the day recede like an outgoing tide, leaving behind an empty beach of a page on which it's okay to make my mark without fear of letting someone else down by not doing the things I have promised them I will do.

The 'zwischen den Jahren' is like an extension of that.  It is a time for sleeping and reading and writing and taking walks out into the quieter-than-normal countryside.  A time for staring at the lights on the Christmas tree and talking lazily about nothing-very-much in front of a roaring fire whilst nursing a wee dram of whisky or a mug of tea.

All I really want for Christmas is a 'zwischen den Jahren'.  And the madness before that is more than a reasonable price to pay...

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