Monthly Archives: December 2014

Last Days of the Year

By Vladimir Brezina

Last red leaf
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The one red leaf, the last of its clan,
That dances as often as dance it can,
Hanging so light, and hanging so high,
On the topmost twig that looks up at the sky.
— Coleridge, Christabel
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Sunset at the end of December 2014 in NYC’s Central Park—
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Winter sunset
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(Click on any photo to start slideshow)
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Last light over the Central Park Reservoir—

Last light

Christmas, 2014

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina and Johna Till Johnson

Our 2014 Christmas treeMaybe it’s because we spent last Christmas on the waters of the Florida Everglades. Or maybe it’s because this year has held more than the usual vicissitudes. For whatever reason, this year we found ourselves focused intently on the traditional trappings and rituals: A live tree, with real candles. A wreath, with ribbons and a bell. Roast goose, mashed potatoes, and cabbage. Christmas carols.

And they were wonderful: As the sun set on Christmas Eve, the apartment filled with the scent of roasting goose (overpowering the fresh fragrance of pine). Dinner that night was magical, with light glittering everywhere, and the sound of Christmas carols on the air.

Johna's favorite ornamentChristmas Day, we slept late, then spent a splendid several hours opening gifts. Okay, more like a few minutes doing the actual opening—but since most of the gifts were books (and most of the remainder was food), we spent a lazy afternoon listening to music, reading, and nibbling cookies. On Boxing Day, we did the official tree-candle lighting (complete with obligatory stand-by bucket of water and fire extinguisher).

All the trappings were there, and the rituals were most satisfactorily observed.  But even more than the trappings and decorations, what resonated most with us was the meaning of Christmas: light in darkness, hope for better times to come.

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Travel Theme: Minimalist

By Vladimir Brezina

Minimalist again? Ailsa, you and The Daily Post really have to coordinate your Photo Challenges! :-)

Anyhow, we do strive to travel in a minimalist fashion, with only the gear that is absolutely necessary. But it’s a work in progress—

How will it all fit?At the start of the 2014 Everglades Challenge.

Warmth

By Vladimir Brezina

The sun rises above the horizon, and immediately its warming rays disperse the morning chill. It’s going to be another hot one!

Warmth

A response to this week’s Photo Challenge, Warmth.

Merry Christmas!

By Vladimir Brezina and Johna Till Johnson

Merry Christmas!(Johna enjoying our traditional Christmas Eve dinner of roast goose, red cabbage, and mashed potatoes…)

Merry Christmas to all our readers!!

It’s All About the Ideas

By Johna Till Johnson

Haitian fishermen (photo Ruth Fremson/The New York Times)

“Ya gotta have ideas,” the cab driver said, followed by an uproarious belly-laugh. “Money’s not worth nothing unless you have ideas.”

I laughed along with him. It was impossible not to: the man had the most contagious laughter I’d ever heard. And he had ideas. Boy, did he have ideas.

He wasn’t what I expected when I got into the cab on that overcast, dreary December day a few days before Christmas. All I could see of him was a dark face, beard streaked with a bit of gray. He was eating a late lunch when I got in, and didn’t return my greeting.

So I figured I wasn’t going to hear much from him—and that was fine. I had errands to get done, and worries on my mind. After I told him the destination, I figured that was the last exchange we’d have. Wrong!

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The Turn of the Year

By Vladimir Brezina

I mean, of course, the ancient turn of the year, the Winter Solstice—not that newfangled, artificial New Year on January 1st.

The Winter Solstice occurs today, December 21st, at 6:03 PM EST (New York time).  This year, especially, we look forward to the days finally getting longer…

Winter sunset at the Central Park Reseervoir

… and we are still waiting for our first real snowstorm, which at least for a day or two makes everything brighter :-)

Happy Winter Solstice from us in NYC!