Sunday, December 31, 2023

Happy New Year's Eve 2023

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? 2023!

The sublime songbird Ella sings the ultimate version of this lovely, classic song..."What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?"

I hope whatever you do, you have fun. And stay safe.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Happy Hogmanay 2023 - 2024!

Hogmanay is the Scottish New Year's celebration that takes place over the course of several days. While the festival and its customs date back to pagan celebrations of winter solstice, the word Hogmanay itself is harder to trace. Scholars have guessed that the word possibly comes from the French, Norse, or Goidelic languages.

The largest event held in Edinburgh kicks off with a torchlight procession tonight, December 29th, 2023. An enormous crowd of celebrants accompanied by pipers and drummers, fire, and fanfare in a river of light wind through the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town.

Events continue through the 30th. Then December 31st is Auld Year's Eve. Street parties, outdoor concerts, and indoor concerts (there is a traditional candlelit concert at St. Giles' Cathedral, and this year rock group Pulp headlines the Concert In The Gardens in the West Princes Street Gardens) all culminate in an overwhelming firework display at the stroke of midnight.

There are many charming New Year's customs in Scotland. "First footing" is the idea that the first person to cross the threshold of your home is a harbinger of good luck. Starting immediately after midnight, people call on friends, going from house to house for much of the night and even into the morning and next day, with over half the population of Scotland observing the practice of "first-footing." It is good luck for the "first-footer" to be a tall, dark male. Traditionally, this male would bring gifts of a coin (symbolizing prosperity), bread/ black bun fruitcake (symbolizing food), salt (flavor), coal (warmth), or a drink (good cheer). These days, a "first-footer" usually just brings the whiskey!

January 1st is Ne'erday, a contraction of New Year's Day. The celebrating and "first-footing" continue, and many Scots still observe the day with a special dinner of steak pie. However, the annual Loony Dook which takes place in the Firth of Forth (a wacky costumed cold plunge for charity), is not part of the official 2024 Edinburgh Hogmanay events and it is unclear if it is going to happen, albeit unsanctioned.

Haud Hogmanay, everyone!

Thursday, December 28, 2023

"Winter" by

An amazing ode to winter by Jamie Scott. He describes his beautiful short film:

"Winter is my third seasonal time-lapse film and the second collaboration with composer Jim Perkins. It is the culmination of 5 years of shooting across New York State and Montreal, Canada.

Because of the nature of snow falling and ice freezing, Winter is more frenetic and fast-paced than my other 2 films. It is by far the hardest piece I have ever produced. At times I was shooting with up to 6 cameras and 4 sliders. I also lost 2 drones in the process."

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

BEAUTY: Painting For Winter--Miscellaneous Artists

Top to bottom: pine trees by unknown artist; Alta Creek, Whistler, Robert Genn; Winter, Sam Vokey; winter scene by Tom Haugomat; Nezu Shrine In Snow, Tsuchiya Koitsu; winter trees by Ulf Onsberg

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Sunday, December 24, 2023

It's Midnight At Christmas 2023

"Snowflake" by Kate Bush...

I was born in a cloud...

Now I am falling.
I want you to catch me.
Look up and you'll see me.
You know you can hear me.

The world is so loud. Keep falling. I'll find you.

We're over a forest.
There's millions of snowflakes.
We're dancing.

The world is so loud. Keep falling and I'll find you.

I am ice and dust. I am sky.

I can see horses wading through snowdrifts.
My broken heart, my fabulous dances.
My fleeting song, fleeting.

The world is so loud. Keep falling. I'll find you.

My broken heart, my fabulous dance.
My fleeting song, my twist and shout.

I am ice and dust and light. I am sky and here.

I can hear people.
I think you are near me now.

The world is so loud. Keep falling. I'll find you.

We're over a forest.
It's midnight at Christmas.

The world is so loud. Keep falling. I'll find you.

I think I can see you.
There's your long, white neck.

The world is so loud. Keep falling. I'll find you.

Now I am falling.
Look up and you'll see me.

The world is so loud. Keep falling. I'll find you.

In a moment or two.
I'll be with you.

The world is so loud. Keep falling. I'll find you.

Be ready to catch me.

The world is so loud. Keep falling. I'll find you.

Kate Bush taught me how to fly.

Lights Will Guide You Home 2023

On this Christmas Eve, may you find your way home, where ever that may be, especially if it can only be in your heart.

I'll Be Home For Christmas 2023...

...if only in my dreams.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Holidays At The Manse 2023

If anyone needs me, I shall be spending the holidays at the manse like always...just ring and ask Wilson to find me. I'll most likely be in the library...not the green one with the damask walls, the small one with the pine paneling. But don't ring on the eve of the 24th...we'll be doing prezzies and having pudding then.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Winter At The Cabin 2023

I'll be spending the holidays at the cabin, as usual--if you need me, call the general store in town and have Sam drive his pick-up out to get me because there's no phone at the cabin and no cell reception.