Winter solstice

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This is the solstice, the still point
of the sun, its cusp and midnight,
the year’s threshold
and unlocking, where the past
lets go of and becomes the future;
the place of caught breath, the door
of a vanished house left ajar.

From Solstice Poem by Margaret Atwood

(This is the most famous verse of this poem, but the whole thing is beautiful, and I recommend it to you. The author Elizabeth Graver has posted it here.)

I like to capture the last of the light on the solstice if I can, but today was one of those dreary midwinter days when the lights stay on in the house for most of the day, and the thought of photographing flat grey sky above a flat brown landscape didn’t really appeal. So instead I stayed home and did a little (a very little) gardening, made Viennese red cabbage à la Nigella for Christmas Day, and played with festive bokeh.

Believe it or not, this scene was shot through an eight-point star cut-out (once I’d unearthed from the grim depths of the garage the star stencil I used, more than twenty years ago, to create the night-time end of Child Two’s night and day bedroom). If I remembered more physics I’d probably be able to work out why the bokeh came out like this – but I don’t, and therefore I can’t (my instinct is that I made the cut-outs too big, and if I haven’t lost the will to live by tomorrow, I may try again with smaller ones). But anyway I quite like it – being somewhat flowery it’s rather appropriate here – and I certainly prefer it to the five-point star bokeh (yes, really) in the extra, which is definitely rather odd.

I bought these flowers last weekend in memory of my Mum, who loved autumnal-coloured roses almost as much as she loved Christmas. They’re not lasting well though – R told me they were ish, and he was right – so I may have to brave the supermarket tomorrow to get some more.