December Light

photo 1-2It’s been six months since I’ve posted on the blog. How to begin again after such a long and unplanned break?

Begin again.

One breath after another. One word after another. One thought after another, stretching out stiff limbs, like a hibernating bear waking up from an extremely long and heavy lidded nap.

I used to think that LA never changed. When I first moved back here from the UK three and a half years ago, I’m ashamed to say I felt aggravated by the endless sunshine. I was bound by my longing for seasons, unable to mutter a word of my weather lust to anyone for fear of seeming ungrateful. It’s not that I didn’t appreciate the warmth, it’s just that I missed other temperatures. I missed being a voyeur of the trees beyond my bedroom window, watching them dress and undress as the year unfolded.

Turns out I was wrong about LA. The weather does change, only I wasn’t open to noticing. That ‘rigidity’ can often happen when we cling too intently to first impressions. We lock into our opinions, and occasionally we refuse to budge, becoming dependant on the familiarity of a well worn point of view.

Subtle shifts happen here in December and I’m becoming aware. LA is uncharacteristically humble in these later months, liberated from the usual red carpet swagger of a prolonged and brazen summer .

A surprising chill creeps up when the sun dips, and lingers before it rises. The hazy hot smog dissolves gradually and in its place, the sky explodes in the early evening, transforming into a canvas of swirly colour – a parade of pinks, oranges and blues. Certain trees on certain streets shed their leaves, offering up tiny unexpected microcosms of autumn. All but the hard core even retire their flip flops. For a little while at least. And the truly imaginative emerge after a morning of light rain dressed to impress in Hunter wellies and waterproof jackets fit for February in the Scottish Highlands.

LA changes. I just wasn’t letting it.

Sometimes we simply need to pick up where we left off, instead of berating ourselves for having left off in the first place. And sometimes we need to let go of our assumptions and look again. With new eyes. In a fresh December light…

Reflect on this: Is there a situation or a person in your life that you are convinced is unable to change? Can you take a step back and create some space, allowing that person or that situation to be considered in a new light? Perhaps that person is even you? Give yourself and others permission to shift. When you are feeling stuck, I invite you to simply begin again… breath by breath, word by word, thought by thought…

Writing prompt: Ten minutes on stuckness/ first impressions/ beginning again/ or your internal weather patterns. Choose one or all of the above…

14 Responses to “December Light”

  1. Audrey F
    December 4, 2013 at 8:57 am #

    Beautiful piece! Exactly what I’ve been needing to read/hear for quite awhile now because it’s several months since I have posted on my blog of drawings or even drawn anything.
    Thank you for the “nudge”. 🙂

    • Rory Green
      December 8, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

      Audrey – I’m so happy to hear that my words resonated with you. A gentle nudge is sometimes just the thing that’s missing!

  2. Melissa
    December 4, 2013 at 9:49 am #

    Oh Rory! So good to hear from you again – I’ve missed your posts and your writing. This is beautiful!

    • Rory Green
      December 8, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

      Thank you Melissa! I was inspired by your advent of writing prompts – such a lovely idea. It felt good to post again! Sending love and happy wishes your way…

      • Melissa
        December 11, 2013 at 5:50 am #

        In our funny ‘through the looking-glass’ synchronicity, this is the first year in the UK when I’ve been more in tune with the subtleties of the changing light to this season. Before, it always felt like someone just came along and pulled the plug every night at 4 pm once we got to the end of October. But this year, I notice more nuance, more beauty, and more (dare I say) light? I agree – there’s something so powerful about resetting our eyes and letting a new first impression arise.

  3. Jen
    December 4, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    As ever, a soft voice of discovery that is Rory. Thank you for sharing. X

    • Rory Green
      December 8, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

      Thank you, Jen! You have always led the way…

  4. Sophie James
    December 4, 2013 at 10:46 am #

    Thank you for this meditation on change and letting things in. It reminds me to ‘risk being changed and disturbed’ – the lovely poem by John O’Donohue you shared with the group. Welcome back Rory’s words! Sophie xx

    • Rory Green
      December 8, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

      Thank you, Sophie! It’s such a treat to be welcomed back by so
      many writers & friends whom I love and admire – you being very high in that list! xo

  5. Kathy
    December 4, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    I am stuck with this old idea that I am not a writer and yet becoming a writer is something I am reaching for. Something I want for myself and something I am in complete control of. I can become a writer if I keep writing. Good things will come if I keep writing.
    Can I rely on myself to nurture myself to be a writer? I have not been such a good friend to myself in this area. My critic is harsh and ever present but I am learning to be a tough old dog and keep showing up at my computer.
    I am reminded of people who have been overweight and who start to eat healthier and exercise everyday and lose weight. It takes a long time for them to catch up with the fact that they are slim. It takes a lot of mental fortitude to keep behaving like that healthy person and not see themselves as fat. It is taking me a long time to change my image of myself as a mother and a wife and a supporter of others to a person who is also a writer.
    I’ve been stuck with other things too. I am stuck sometimes in being the nice, giver who is in tune with everyone else. Part of being a writer is not being selfless. Part of being a writer is carving out time for yourself and saying this part is mine, this part I need, even if the day’s work doesn’t yield a huge harvest. Part of being a writer is feeling entitled to take time to explore what is in your head.
    I remember years ago, a friend and I discussed going into business together. I don’t remember what we wanted to do? Sell things maybe? I say that because I remember picturing myself at a cash register, ordering merchandise, dealing with customers. And I remember mourning the idea that I really wanted to write in this life. If I went forward with this business, writing would always be something that would stay on the shelf or would happen at night or in a back room. It wouldn’t be front and center. The memory of that mournful feeling has stayed with me twenty years later. It was one of the things that let me know what I really was hoping and dreaming for myself.

    • Rory Green
      December 8, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

      Dear Kathy – thank you for this courageous and heart felt response. You will always be a fully dimensional writer from the angle where I sit – from the first moment I heard you read, your writer’s voice was palpable and lucid. I only wish we were quicker to appreciate ourselves in ways that other’s appreciate us. By the way, I too am still struggling with prioritising the time to write and not saying ‘yes’ to every invitation just to appease the inviter…it is something you and I can work on together. How very lovely it is to ‘hear’ you here… xo

  6. melanie prager
    December 4, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    I LOVE this!!!!!! As a transplant myself I can soooo appreciate your perspective, thanks for writing this beautiful piece. I look forward to using it as a writing prompt!

    • Rory Green
      December 8, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

      You are very welcome, Mel! I hope you DID use it as a writing prompt and thank YOU for commenting and showing up here – I’m very grateful…

  7. Kimberly O'Hara
    December 15, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

    The wall never felt as porous as it did now as she leaned into it with a sigh. Would she ever be able to give up the feelings she had inside of imminent loss? “I’ve never won anything,” she always says before the raffle ticket is selected from the basket, so she won’t feel bad when it happens again and again. There is pain associated with knowing she may never win, but it is not the fallibility or the inevitability, but rather the deep scar on her heart that keeps her from believing. She holds her hand up to her heart and thinks how rarely if ever she does that. Perhaps the last time at her daughter’s elementary school assembly in Allegiance to the flag. She awkwardly put the wrong hand up. “Your heart’s on the other side, mom” her daughter said. “I know,” she responded. “I have it in the middle.” No losing there. She had always felt like she had lost a life, many times. Silence echoes in apartments in snowy cities where she sat alone before an old typewriter because the library was far away. They only had floppy disks anyway and she didn’t have any because she was out of money. Christmas lights twinkling in Rockefeller center, crammed amid 300,000 thousand people simply trying to get home, to the subway, and feeling vastly alone.

    This Christmas she had a new impression. She would not put up a live tree for one. The devastation of her carpet when the tree, already dead in the lot, continues to die and then must be dragged through the house to be discarded, was so unspeakable last year she vowed to get a fake tree. “But what about the smell?” her children asked. And with a Grinchy sneer she said, “Fir tree spray, don’t they make that?” Her children reared back in her fabricated horror. She would not put up a tree. She was leaving town in fact and ho ho ho Santa can still come down the damn chimney but he wasn’t getting milk because it would spoil but cookies will be just fine. Of course of course some carrots for the reindeer, as prompted with great concern by her four year old. This Christmas she had a new impression of Christmas and it was finally hers. No more twist on bulbs, 25 of them in the old Victorian windows. On at night and off in the morning. No more expectations of hams and turkeys and delights. She would simply wrap two small gifts for her children and leave town. When she rewrote her Christmas story, when she moved away from the perfection of marriages lost and the downsizing of homes, and embraced the newness of love, for herself, for him, for her children, not in that order, she was ready to sing Christmas cheer.

    “Number 204?” called out the party head. She looked down slow, in slow motion, at her ticket. Her eyes were blurring as she tried to see the ticket. Was she drunk? No, she remembered she was at a program party, no alcohol here, just strong tea and coffee. It was tears. She had won.

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