Create Light

12 (Blog) Days of Christmas: On the Ninth Day


On the Ninth (blog) Day of Christmas . . . I give you light!


It is the Winter Solstice . . . and very dark.  Here, it also snowing (just a little) and windy.  Winter may be finally arriving.

Light some candles.


Turn on the twinkle lights.


And enjoy some Shakespeare.


Enjoy some quiet light this weekend . . .




12 (Blog) Days of Christmas: On the Seventh Day


On the Seventh (blog) Day of Christmas . . . I bring you images of the season.  (Which works well with Carole's Ten on Tuesday topic this week:  Ten Favorite Things to Photograph at Christmas!)

1.  Decorations that just shout out "Christmas!"


2.  Sunlight when it makes a rare appearance and washes over my space.


3.  Candlelight and twinkle-light . . . when there is no sunlight.


4.  Trees . . . inside.


5.  and out!


6.  Snow . . . when it falls.  (But this year?  Not so much.)


7.  Us . . . when we're all dressed up and ready for a night out.  (Or, even when we're not.)


8.  Food . . . like my sushi plate from a party last Friday.


9.  My house . . . in all it's seasonal finery.


10.  Traditions . . . treasured people and events.

My Star Tree . . . the "match" to my Bird Tree!

How about YOU?  What are your favorite things to photograph during the holiday season?


Join the fun!  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday here.

Dark Days . . . Light Nights

It's so dark!

The sun doesn't rise until nearly 8:00 am this morning; it will set at 5:10 pm.  That's only 9 hours of daylight.   A long work day.  And that's all.

In my ongoing efforts to create light . . .


I'm letting twinkle lights. . .


and candle light. . .


and Christmas cheer . . .


bring light . . . to the darkness.


That makes all the difference in these dark and dreary days of December.


Letting It In

Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in.

--Leonard Cohen

In my ongoing push to Create Light during this dark winter season, I'm doing something a little different.


Usually, in the winter months, I snug everything up . . . cozy and isolated.


But this year, I'm keeping things open.


I'm looking for cracks.


I'm letting the light get in.


Invite light!

What Light Through Yonder Window Breaks?*

People are like stained glass windows.  They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.

--- Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

When we were looking at houses to buy when we moved to Kalamazoo, there were several features that drew us to our eventual (current) home.  The arched brick fireplace.  The library.  The kitchen island.  And these. . .


Yeah.  I have stained glass windows in my bathroom.

They don't look like much from the outside.


Tucked into the corner.  Way in the back.

But when the sun shines, you notice.


From the inside, they are magical!


I think I need to spend more time in my bathroom through the dark season. . . especially around 10:00 in the morning!


*William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2


Inviting the Light

I don't mind the change of the seasons so much.  They come; they go.  There's something to enjoy about each of them.

What's tough for me, though, is the prolonged darkness as we creep toward winter.

The days are so short.  I miss the hours and hours of leisurely evening sunshine.  And this weekend marks the end of Daylight Savings Time.  While I certainly won't mind the "extra hour" of sleep on Sunday morning, I mourn the shift to even less daylight in the evening.

It could be worse, though.  I could live in Scandinavia!

When my sister and I visited Sweden last summer, it was just after the summer solstice, and we enjoyed daylight until almost midnight.  During our stay in Scandinavia, the sun set at about 11:30 pm each evening -- and rose again at 2:00 am!  (I must admit to never actually SEEing the sun rise at 2:00 am, but that was the schedule.)  It was lovely.  Balancing the equation, though, is the very short daylight time in Scandinavia as the winter passes.  By the winter solstice, the sun won't rise until 11:30 in the morning -- and will set again at 2:00 in the afternoon!

Swedish style -- in home décor -- well-known for clean, simple lines; pale, soft colors.  Light wood.  Light walls.  Blues.  Yellow.  Lovely.  All . . . intentional and influenced by light and weather.  When the winters are especially long, dark, and dreary, it's all the more important to bring lightness inside.

I was especially struck by the Swedish windows.








We noticed the charm of the Swedish windows right away.  Most windows are open -- no heavy curtains or drapes or even screens.  Almost every window had some combination of plants, lamps, collections of objects, or candles arranged on the window sills


One of our tour guides explained that Swedes prefer unobtrusive window treatments like sheer panels or lace - or no window coverings at all - to make the most of the natural light; to invite light.


She explained that people decorate the window sills in their homes with care, to bring their attention to the window; to the light.


I was inspired by the windows I saw in Sweden.  They were charming, no doubt. 


But, more than that, I am inspired to use my own windows . . . to invite the light . . . into my life during the cold, dreary, dark days of winter.

"Live in rooms full of light."

                                       -- Cornelius Celsus