Saturday, October 29, 2011

Embracing the dark

 Staying in....moss stitch wrist warmers (..and a banana)

I don't know whether RTÉ Lyric fm has upped its opera quotient or it's just a coincidence, but lately I have been listening to a lot of opera in the car - this aria from Madame Butterfly stands out in my memory. Driving in the dark still feels like a novelty after the summer, and there is nothing better than combining that with rain and opera on the radio - those voices, often in Italian, which I only understand a little, completely transcend this mundane task. It's such a visceral experience. Of course, hearing it live is amazing, but there is something about the solitary nature of listening to it in your car driving through the dark that just makes me feel so...human, and small (in a good way), and connected to something bigger. [Incidentally, I love the song Verdi Cries by 10,000 Maniacs - I always think of this when I think of opera.]

 I thought I would find it hard to adjust to the shorter days, but I am actually enjoying getting up early and watching the sun rise from my kitchen window, with a candle on the table. It now is still dark when I get to the college, and once I have parked the car, I walk along the river to the gym (the pool), and the lights on the other side of the river reflecting on the water look like Van Gogh's Starry Night over the Rhone.

Life has slowed down a bit, and I am liking it. I used to feel guilty in some strange way about spending a lot of time at home, when I should be out seeing friends or doing things, but I no longer think in terms of "shoulds". Ok, that's a lie - that word still features way too much in my head's vocabulary. Maybe what has changed is that I have become quite unapologetic about being me - I am not the person who goes out a lot and spends weekends in a bubble of sociablility. I am a homebody. I usually prefer dinner parties to eating out, cleaning the house to shopping and being a hermit in my rural-retreat-style home to rushing around town. Although I am always surprised that when I do go out and do stuff how energising it is and how good it feels. And sometimes I may have to be dragged along to something to find that I like it. I guess it's all about doing both and knowing how much of each is right. For me, I do know that I need at least one full day or two half days a week on my own in my house.

This weekend I am hoping to finish some of the things I am knitting, organise my recipe collection, and go for a run (a lot of swimming, but zero running this week so far). My younger sister and her husband are coming tomorrow, and Matt will be back from England on Monday, so I am excited about spending time with loved ones!

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