For the year 2020 I have decided to document life with a different theme colour in mind each month. This month’s theme: gold/sunlight/yellow ochre.
Some months, like this month, the state of the world keeps me up at night. Some months, like this month, the faith of our planet makes staying positive a struggle, a harder task than it usually is. This February, as life stubbornly leaned towards spring sooner than it should, it was challenging not to get lost in the triviality of life or not to get overwhelmed by the concept of time and the speed in which it passes. It somehow seemed harder to enjoy the fleeting moments that make up for a perfectly ordinary life, more difficult to look for the lightness of it all.
So, that is why this month, I set out to look for that much needed light. I sought out the silver linings and the saving grace of hopefulness. I committed to finding the beauty of all the golden hours that I know February has to offer. And even though I wasn’t sure where to look, I found light, hope & gold everywhere.
Goodbye December, the time has come; time to say goodbye.
Another year has gone by; it passed swiftly, as always. There it was; larger than life, filled with its seemly countless blank days, its stories untold, its memories impatiently waiting for somewhere to begin. And then, in the blink of an eye, it was gone. You came along, announcing the end of a moment in time, running quietly forward, straight into new times to come.
Goodbye Dear December, I have to hurry now. I look behind me & it seems you are already fading. I can’t help feeling that I have somehow lived less of you than I usually would. Like I spend my time moving through one day, merely to get to another. Do you know what I mean? I wonder if you felt it too. It’s not that I wasn’t grateful for your days or that you didn’t provide all that a good December is supposed to provide. You gave me cold days, frosty morning & stormy evenings. You gave me Christmas lights, hearty meals & heartfelt conversations. There were unexpected moments, there were sweet surprises too. Lights appeared in trees, windows were decorated with words of wisdom. Mist crawled through the streets, frost wrapped its celestial white arms around spider webs, decorated fences & walls with the sparkling wonders of your winter. Flocks of gees passed overhead, calling out one to the other, I bid them a silent farewell, wanting them to travel safe, yet to return with spring. There was beauty everywhere; enough to go around, enough to satisfy the soul. But yet, it was as if I wasn’t really there to witness it all.
But, dear December, it wasn’t you. It was me. I suppose I got distracted by the finality of your season. Distracted by the end of things, rather than by the middle of them. Your days have been heavy with thought. But not with thoughts of you. It were thoughts of this year’s ambiguous heritage instead.
A full year has passed. It is slowly receding back into itself. Leaving us standing at the brink of something new, still feeling slightly weary of the world & all its heartache. Weary of people dying in the safety of our streets, weary of cities under siege, children dying too young or growing up too fast. Weary of our endless wavering believe in what is right & what is wrong. Who are we now? And where will we go from here? The past year has been a challenge to the soul & I’m afraid you have been no exception, December. Sometimes, I can’t help but feel defeated by it all. Frightened of what lies ahead. What if I am simply too trivial & insignificant to stand up to the new ways of this world? What if I’m too frightened to take a stand or to simply speak my mind? I don’t want to worry, but how can I not?
Dear beautiful December, I am sorry for the lack of attention that I have given you. I feel I have let you & myself down. And I am truly sorry about that. Because all I really want is to thank you. Thanks you & all those colourful, eventful, wonderful & priceless months that came before. I have moved through most days of the past year with wide open eyes, boundless appreciation & an endless wandering mind. I have witnessed early mornings; pristine & promising. I have walked through the silence of seasons unfolding, have wrapped my arms tightly around the beginning of each day.
I read more books than I did the year before, I never wrote enough letters, I cooked countless meals & watched new stories unfold in & around me. I have worried, I have cried, I have felt at a loss, defeated, adrift. But I have laughed too. I have celebrated, I have walked, I have enjoyed, I have seen & I have done. I wrote down my version of events, I documented my humble understanding of beauty & I created something that was mine & no one else’s. I loved, I rejoiced, I learned & unlearned. I thought, I was & I wasn’t. And more than anything, I lived. Lived as courageously & as consciously I could. And it wasn’t perfect. Of course, it wasn’t. But it was the best & the only thing I could think to do. And I loved it. And I thank you all for that.
Goodbye Dearest December, goodbye to you. Goodbye days. Goodbye weeks. Goodbye Year. I’ll must be going now. But I’ll make sure to think of you along the way…
Series: way too many episodes of Lost.
Movies: Mystic River, Les Misérables
Songs of the year:
Elegy for the artic – Ludovico Einaudi
Incomplete – James Bay
Will of the river – First Aid Kit
Nemesis – David Gray
You want it darker – Leonard Cohen
New Year’s eve – First Aid Kit
Goodbye November, farewell my friend. Your turbulent times have come to an end. Your windswept days, your glorious mornings & equally brilliant midnight skies. The ups & the downs, the highs & the lows. You have been a challenge for the soul, a true sharpening of the senses. And more than anything, you’ve been a rude awakening to us all.
Goodbye Dear November. I feel I’m still trying to come to terms with you, because you haven’t been easy to digest. Like I’ve been put to the test & even now, after all our time together, I’m not sure whether I succeeded or utterly failed. But I’m still here. Still standing. And I guess that should mean something.
I struggled, you know, I struggled a lot. I was taken aback by the world; the shape we’re in, the direction we’ve taken. We felt ever so divided, so scattered as a human race. Everything seemed to spin out of control. For every step once taken forward, we seemingly took two steps back. And it scared me. Everything scared me.
I learned. Yes, I guess I learned. About myself, the world & everything underneath these wide skies. I attempted to reinvent myself at the start of each new day, tried to strap on more armour than I could possibly carry. I came undone, then picked myself up again.
A poet died & he took arms full of inspiration with him as he hurried from this world to the next. I felt at a loss, like nothing was ever going to be simple anymore. And it scared me. Everything scared me.
It was my birthday. I looked at the world where I spend all those beautiful, confusion, incredible, fulfilling years, surrounded by all the best of people, and found I didn’t understand what I saw anymore. And it scared me. Everything scared me.
Dearest November, I don’t want to be scared any longer. I don’t want to give up on hope. Don’t want to let go of the idea that all that is good & right & true in this world will always prevail over everything that is not. ‘It is possible to choose peace over worries’ it said on the magazine I picked up just the other day. Struck by the simple truth of these wonderfully hopeful words, I suddenly understood that it was up to me & no one else where to go from here. Up to me to decide whether to be defeated or to stand tall. So, I will choose peace over worries. I choose hope over fear. Every single time. I know I might sounds naïve, silly even. But I’m rather naïve, than negative. Rather silly, than sad.
Goodbye Beautiful November. I feel for you. I understand your struggle, your endless search for identity. You’re stuck somewhere in the middle of it all. No longer autumn, but not quite winter. No colourful leafs to decorate your hours, no Christmas lights to lighten your days. But I want you to know, you have been beautiful & incredible & meaningful in so many ways. You’ve been unique & moving, challenging & all important. You have brought me thoughts & insights which I will cherish forever. I want you to know that, understand it, before we say our goodbyes. I feel that, because of you & all that you have taught me, I have finally begun to understand how to shift the weight of life, so that it may sit more comfortably as I go. And for that I’ll be forever in your debts.
Book: ‘Friday on my mind’ & ‘Saturday Requiem’ by Nicci French. Now it’s time to break-in the newest novel by my all-time favourite author Jonathan Safran Foer.
Series: Showtime original The Affair, which was really honest, confronting & good. And then we started watching ‘Lost’ once again, which will always be one of my favourite shows. After finishing season 1 last night, I’ve turned right into a proud Lostie again;)
Songs of the month:
Come Healing – Leonard Cohen
I’m yours – Jack Savoretti
Night comes on – Leonard Cohen
Destroyer – David Gray
String reprise/Treaty – Leonard Cohen
Goodbye October, you have come & gone. I have been running late & before long, I might forget what made our time together so special & valuable. And that would be such a waste, wouldn’t it?
So, before you go, let me take a moment to thank you. Thank you for celebrating nature at its best. The showers of yellow, orange, red & brown, the leafs dancing in the streets, the bright blue skies & the silent, early mornings. You amazed me, you had me looking up & up & up. Had me mesmerized; constantly captivated by all your glorious beauty.
Goodbye Beautiful October, I’m sad to see you go, but you have certainly fuelled me for the winter months to come. I will treasure the days, hours & moments we spend together.
As time went by, your days grew shorter, your wind sharper & more whimsical. But at the best of times, I could still leave my coat at home. I got to see the sun climbing into the sky, witnessed the start of so many perfect autumn days. I stared up at the trees, their colourful canopy like a party in the sky. Cycling, I had to course correct, remind myself to put daydreams on hold & pay attention to the world in front of me.
During the comforting time we spend together, I ran into challenges, big & beautiful. And, despite the fear & the mix emotions which go hand in hand with all newness, I grabbed opportunities with both hands, ready to learn, not so ready to stumble. I took a moment to embrace the underrated joy of hearing a new masterpiece. I celebrated the birth of the greatest person on earth. I mourned the loss of those I’d never know. I cooked new things, reintroduced old favourites. As always, I planned & planned, mostly too much, but never really enough. I learned, I read, I loved, I thought & then thought some more. And in the midst of our time together, I ran into a new side to myself. Thinking I knew it all, thinking I had peeled back every single layer of the person I have always aimed to become, I wandered into unfamiliar territory. And I have been wondered about this unexpected insight ever since.
Goodbye Dear October, you have been ever so sweet. But you’ve also been wild, ruthless & unforgiving. You had hurricanes sweeping in, tearing away everything from those who had nothing to begin with. I watched the world as it unravelled into a battle of right & wrong, decent & savage. I felt us inching towards a time in history I’m afraid I will never be able to understand. The overflowing boats, the vicious seize-fires, the never-ending tug of war between rightfulness & reality. And even though I know I am supposed to be some sort of vague part of it all, I never felt further removed from the world & all its boundless violence.
Goodbye lovely October, you will be missed. Your days were busy, unorganised at the worst of times. There were moments I wanted to pause you, take a breath & reset everything. But more than anything, you were magnificent & my life was beautifully whole & lovely incomplete at the same time. Thanks you for everything; the confidence gained, the lessons learned & the beauty given. Thank you for the music, the words & all the inspiration. Thank you for the evenings, spend in the safety of all I know. And thank you for the days full of colourful wonder.
I’ll wrap this up now. November is here, she has already begun & it’s time for you to go. Take care, sweet October, let’s meet again next year.
Book: ‘Waiting for Wednesday’ & Thursday’s Child’ both by Nicci French
(now I might aswell finish the series:)
Movie: ‘Das Leben das Anderen’,
a beautiful touching movie, which I have seen about three times now.
Songs of the month:
You want it darker – Leonard Cohen
Deep Waters – Jack Savoretti
It seemed the better way – Leonard Cohen
All of me – Milow (cover)
Goodbye September, with your bright blue skies, uncharacteristically warmth temperatures & your incredible high spirits. You were a holiday, a gift; a getaway from life as it tends to be. You brought me arms full of freedom, legs full of miles & a head full of refreshed dreams. And all I can say to you is: thank you!
Goodbye beautiful September, what a lovely time we had together. So much sunlight, so much air to breath, so many adventures to go on & so many hours to spend exploring the world and my place in it. There was nature everywhere. There was the mesmerizing sea; the cold water stinging, the waves rolling in. Like a child, stretching my arms, trying to catch a ride to shore. There were the wide, empty beaches; there were unexplored possibilities in every direction, there were tracks to follow & there were seagulls going their own way. There was sand, grass & wind. There were birds, like great white clouds, sailing away from me. There were seashells in my hand, there were ships on the horizon, colourful parasols creating shade where needed. There were fields filled with flowers, curious goats at lunch, evenings to stay out & mornings to have breakfast at the break at dawn. The sun turned my skin a golden brown, white feet where my socks used to be.
Days passed. Sunny days. I followed my sand covered shoes around. Sometimes walking, sometimes peddling, sometimes resting in the spaces between. I read books, experimented in the kitchen, happily celebrated new life on the way. I was filled with joy, then filled with doubts. Conversations drifted in & out of me. A head full of things to say, I found words for some things, unexpected silence for others. I thought of all the possible things I said & all the possible things I should have said. I felt happiness & it was large as life itself. I felt both pride & regret. I remembered all the lessons I learned along the way, only to forget them moments later. And through it all, I think I was growing somehow; growing up as well as down.
Goodbye September, goodbye to your never-ending tale of human sorrow. Summer is come & gone and some of us are still waiting in vain. Waiting at borders, waiting in between the rubble which once was a city, waiting for aid, a solution or simply waiting for some compassion. Waiting for this world to become a better place, a safe haven for all & not just for a selected few. As I lived out the days of my incredible life, old & new stories sprang to life all around me. People stood gathered, remembering & mourning. Committees were assembled, summits took place, citizens from far and wide took to the streets & demanded a little bit of everything for everyone. It was good, it was brave, it was the best they could do, while I sat & wondered whether it would ever be enough.
Goodbye dear September, our time to part has come. October is waiting. Autumn is setting in. Leafs are falling. The months ahead will carefully wash the traces of this past summer from my skin. But even as I turn a lighter shade of pale, I won’t forget you, nor the colourful days you brought me. Thank you, sweet September. Thank you for all the time you gave me. All the sleep & all the waking hours. Thank you for the seaside, for the fields, the forest & the cool canopy of its trees. Thank you for the safe travels, the memories made & the promise of moments to come. And more than anything, thank you for granting me the time & space to reinvent my ‘extra’ordinary life, just in time for the holiday to end. Take care & I hope we’ll meet again…
Book: I read two Nicci French novels (my guilty holiday-pleasure:), called ‘Blue Monday’ & ‘Tuesday’s gone.’
And I read a beautiful little book called ‘For one more day’, written by Mitch Albom. It’s a great story about a son who gets to spend one last day with his deceased mother; beautifully written & great food for thought.
Series: E.R, still:)
Songs of the month:
The promise – Tracy Chapman
Motherland – Natalie Merchant
We must be crazy – Milow
Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye – Leonard cohen
Take me home – Jack Savoretti
Goodbye August, with your bright sunny days & your warm, sleepless nights. How generous you have been; delivering an abundance of sweet summer sun, gorgeous bright mornings & countless numbers of mosquitos. I asked for summer & you gave me summer. And I would like to thank you for it.
Goodbye sweet August, I’ve had a great time with you. Although my legs were heavy sometimes, my throat unexpectedly sore a few days & my arms a little useless every now and then, I still had the best of times with you. Your promising mornings had me longing for fresh air; you took me out into the forest, the fields & onto the water. I went canoeing, I sat at the water’s edge, ate veggies wraps, embraced the world around me, while listening to the voices of the people I have loved all my life & will love forever more. I climbed a hillside, curious cows watched me watching them. Their beautiful brown eyes, those long lashes & the smell of life as I remember it from bygone years. With the world still half asleep, I caught the golden light of day, thanking my mind & eyes for all its wondrous wandering.
Some days, life was as it always is. I made the beds, filled bags with groceries, stood in line & wasted time. I cycled up & down this little town. I saw familiar streets, but every day in a different light. Yes, most of life was as it usually is. But it was lovely, it was sweet & it was how I wanted life to be. New cards arrived, filling me with happiness & pride. Recipes were tested; some worked out, some didn’t. I ate mangoes, blue berries, too many tomatoes & not nearly enough strawberries. My mother came: travelled hours on the train to tell me that she loves me & I couldn’t begin to explain how much that meant to me. I liked almost all of your days; especially the ones spend hiking, exploring, recharging, learning, succeeding, catching up & catching on. There was always something new & always something familiar. And I was grateful for loving the combination of the two.
Goodbye Dear August, this is a summer of broken records. A summer of moments to cheer, moments to cry, moments of joy mixing in with times of disbelieve & cold despair. This is a summer of a trembling earth, victorious athletes, disappearing villages, crazy campaigns, exploding bombs & destructive weddings. The summer of a small boy, a childlike ghost, momentarily shaking us awake, opening our eyes, until it feels appropriate to close them once again. This wondrous world kept spinning & spinning, and I was spinning along as always. Everything changed & changed, yet everything stayed the same & the same. I tried to understand, comprehend & compartmentalize. At the end of every day, I was still there & I felt thankful for it.
Goodbye beautiful August, thank you for being wonderful. Thank you for being warm, bright, kind. Thank you for the golden mornings, the empty streets, the endless walks & the lightness of it all. Thank you for the cats, the cows, the juvenile birds. Thank you for the box of mangoes, which turned out to be juicy and tasty, just like they’re supposed to be. Thanks you for all the talks, the silence & thank you for the quiet reassurance of everyday life.
September is here now; sneaking a chill into the morning air, bringing autumn a little closer. I had a wonderful time with you & hope to see you again, in all your glory, sometime next year…
Book: I haven’t been able to finish a book this month. I’m having a holiday soon though, so hopefully I can make it up in September:)
Series: E.R & some episodes of Early Edition. I watched the new episodes of Masterchef Australia 2016, which has been great so far!
Movies: ‘Heaven on Earth‘, the wonderful sequel to the equally wonderful Swedish movie;
‘As it is in Heaven.‘
Songs of the month:
Rivers – The Tallest Man on Earth
Humble me – Norah Jones
The Boy in the Bubble – Paul Simon
Goodbye July, goodbye to your canopy of darker shades of green, your half-hearted attempts at better weather, your respectful restrain at being the full-blown summer you could chose to be.
I had a hard time writing this month’s goodbye to you, dear July. A hard time writing about the walks I made, the new things I might have learned, the small events shaping my beautiful daily life. I keep asking myself; what is a golden sunset falling across the fields behind my house, compared to all that is happening in the world around me? Is there ever an appropriate time to reminisce about a beautiful afternoon tea, shared with loved ones, when there are deaths to mourn, issues to address & demons to face?
You see, Sweet July, this wondering is rapidly turning into an ongoing battle, as I try to balance between my world, the rest of the world & the careful merging of those two. How to live in a world where there is light, as well as dark. A world where there is good & there is evil. Where there is a long awaited graduation. A kiss on a cheek. A parent with no child to take care off. Where there are flowers that last longer than expected. A battle everyone loses. Where there is the comfort of nostalgia. Where there is a man who loses everything. Where there is a safe return. There is a bridge that divides instead of connects. A night without mosquitos. No day without news. Where there is a peaceful process that is blown apart. Where there is a cup of coffee just at the right time.
A world where there is a new day. Always a hopeful, completely unmarked, new day.
And all through your 31 days, sweet July, I have been able to live out my own set of beautiful, unmarked days, full of promises of what’s to come. I’ve been cycling into each of those fresh mornings, stirring unsuspected gulls, watching the light catch on their delicate wings as they sail through the sky. I have filled my lungs at the start of every single day. I made plans in my head. I looked up & around. I cycled home, while thinking of children standing at the gates we all allowed for someone to pull up. Thinking of men and women, somewhere out there, planning & plotting scenarios worse than any movie I have ever seen, worse than all of us could ever begin to imagine. I felt frightened and happy and small and important and young and old, all at once. And as I cycled through that new day, long & unstained before me, I thought of the words of a friend. He told me that the best thing for us to do right now would be to stick together, to be kind to everyone & more than anything, to love; love each other & ourselves. And I like to think he might be right.
Goodbye Dear July, I have come to the end of my words. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to honour you in the same way as I have done the other months. But hopefully you don’t mind too much. I did have a nice time with you. So, I do want to thank you. For the walks, for the clumsy baby birds learning to fly, for the flowers everywhere. Thank you for the happy reunions & the uncomplicated partings. Thank you for uncrowded cinemas & for trips down memory lane. Thanks for all those many moments, all the many things & all those lovely instances that make up the sum of my life. Thank you for all the freedom that I’ve been given by those who went before me; the freedom of speech, the freedom of being, the priceless freedom that enables me to sit here, write this, be who I am, without taking a moment to wonder whether I should be someone else instead.
Thank you, dear July, and please remember; I love you…..
Book: ‘Shock of the Fall’, by Nathan Filer. And I read most of ‘Taal is zeg maar echt mijn ding‘, by the Dutch author Paulien Cornelisse
Series: E.R, finished the Netflix original ‘Bloodline’ & watched a few episodes of ‘Early Edition’.
Movies: I saw ‘The BFG’ (the Big Friendly Giant) in the cinema, it was absolutely awesome & a real great trip down memory lane, as I used that love the Roald Dahl book as a kid.
Songs of the month:
Piece by piece – Katie Melua
What would I do without you – Drew Holcomb
Stay Gold – First Aid Kit
Day to day 6 days a week – L.A.Salami
Somebody’s Love – Passenger
Goodbye June. Goodbye to your restless days; the showers, the changes & all those hopeful new beginnings. Thank you for the grasslands growing, the grain swaying, the birds overhead & the rivers flowing. There was more rain than the ground could take, more heartache than our souls should take. There were swallows dancing, clouds gathering, lightning striking. You were wild & unpredictable, yet you were beautiful & brave. And I’d like to thank you for that.
Goodbye sweet June, thank you for the days I got to walk through. In the midst of your confusing sadness, you have taken the time to once again remind me of the importance of all things little. You have warned me about the weight of things larger than life; the heavy burdens of everything I cannot possible change, nor carry. And so, I set out looking for the sun behind the clouds, the silver lining at the end of the day. With a renewed lightness in my step, I hiked up a hill, I watched the sky in wonder & I adjusted my heartbeat to the unexpected rhythm of your season. And, suddenly, I felt so much lighter than before.
Living through your days, I hoped, I feared, I tried, I managed, I failed. Some things came to an end, while other patiently waited to begin. I learned new words with the same meaning. I created & conquered. I made long lists which I never finished, I set goals I decided not to reach. I watched games unite & divide. I cheered for Spain & cried for England. I let the world get to me. I read the news & became painfully aware that I too am part of a greater whole. Part of something. Something nameless & abstract, yet something that seemed to be coming apart at the seams. And all of a sudden, I felt frightened over the prospect of losing the sense of unity I had never felt before.
Goodbye Dear June. Do you wonder, like I do, what will happen now? Where we might go from here? Why do we do what we do? Why do we let fear cloud our judgement, let prejudice get in the way of who we ought to be? When did our world turn into a place where parties turn into massacres, holidays into horror? I broke down, I cried in disbelieve. I felt the loss in my heart, mind & my soul. And all that while, I understood that it was alright to feel too much at once. That the feeling of devastating sorrow, which sat in my chest, was what the world needed from me that very moment.
It ought to hurt, because it is an crime & it’s a terrible, terrible disgrace. And we should never be allowed to be numbed by all the suffering, but we should be outraged & empowered instead.
Goodbye June, thank you for everything. Let’s make way for your friend July, see if she holds the summer we somehow were unable to find. Thank you for all the wonderful moments of togetherness you send my way. Thank you for the sweet strawberries, the tasty dinners & yummy cakes. Thanks for the love of those who love me; their words, their laughter & their reassuring nearness. Thanks for the walks, the wide skies, the rain that soaked my clothes & the shower that warmed my skin. It’s time to wave goodbye now. Take care & hope to see you next year.
Book: unfortunately, I didn’t manage to finish a book this month:(
I am half way a novel called; The Shock of the Fall, by Nathan Filer. It’s promising so far…
Series: still watching E.R & mixing it up with a Netflix original called Bloodline. Furthermore, I’ve been watching a few soccer matches from the European Championships:)
Songs of the month:
Up & Up – Coldplay
Nearly Morning – Luke Sital Singh (with Gabriella Aplin)
Hold back the River – James Bay
Young as the morning, old as the sea – Passenger
This month I would love to include a lovely, colourful & incredibly creative music video I’ve been playing on repeat. This song lifts my spirit whenever it needs lifting & even though, I’m normally not crazy about music videos, I’ll gladly make an exception for this creative, funny & inspiring piece of art. Of course, it helps that I’m a huge Coldplay fan, but give it a go & who knows, you might like it too…