Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, begin to relax your body. That’s my motto this week. Pheeeeew. Welcome to the last End Notes for 2022. The December issue is decorated mostly with plant photos that I’ve added to my ever-growing gallery of San Diego’s Native Plants. The other ingredients, like a bunch of links, music and such, are part of the mix as well too, of course.
Between The Years
In some German-language regions and countries, the time between Christmas and New Year is called “Between The Years” (zwischen den Jahren) — traditionally also called Rauhnächte, that time included Epiphany, similar to the “Twelve Nights of Christmas” in the English culture. To me, it always felt like a good time to wind down a little bit, exhale, getting done with always merely “catching up”, wrap up the things that need to be taken care of, and then set one’s sights at what lies ahead.
And so I’ve spent the last few days working on my selection of favorite photos from 2022, registering the copyright for the batch of images that I published in the past three months, moving my photo club’s website to a new web hoster (it’s life’s attempt to throw a wrench in my winding-down/catching-breath of course; an unexpected bonus activity because the old plan expired and the new price is way too high), and then once the site was moved, publishing the galleries from our contest to the site as I had planned to do. One thing after the other. In between, more deep breaths.
Somehow, all the earlier December activities, even the desert hikes, all felt a little bit like frantic escapes for a few hours or a day, before returning to the pre-Christmas madness of our Western culture. Now it all feels more peaceful, and I very much feel like slowing down for a little while. I need some room in my head to follow lines of thought that I want to solidify into a blog post. I look forward to taking some time to write about each of my favorite photos of the year next, and then to creating additional plant portraits for which I’ve gathered enough photos. Will be mostly desert plants! And maybe I’ll even clean my desk. 😄
Weather & On The Trail
After surprisingly warm days for the Christmas weekend (84°F/29°C here!) clouds and rain have returned to Southern California. This helps feeling more peaceful at home, drinking coffee and, after dark, a glass of wine, or sipping on some single malt that Santa brought. 😉 I mean, as opposed to the frantic sunshine that always seems to yell: “Get out! It’s nice! Get out!” 😅
But inevitably, at this time of the year, the desert is calling. In early December, Shuwen and I finally made it there for our first desert hike of the cool season. And it was so nice that a certain #FOMO (fear of missing out) immediately set it — follow-up visits, with friends and alone, were absolutely inevitable. I’ve been out there four times already in December. For my latest hike I went to the Coyote Mountains Wilderness again, which is really my favorite area. I ventured into “my” canyon and then to the sandstone domes, for sunset. Surprise: I have some photos that I like! But they’ll have to wait. One thing after the other. And in between, more deep breaths.
At night, I often listen to “SEB” — the Sleepbot Environmental Broadcast, which is, in internet terms, a very, very old streaming radio station that plays ambient. The last update in the News section on the site is from 2008. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’ll stay online! One December evening, a long-form track with just Tibetan bowls was playing, and I found it absolutely wonderful. That track was “Golden Bowls” by Karma Moffett, from 1995 — it reminded me a lot of Brian Eno’s “Reflection”, only that it’s not synthesizers triggered by an algorithm, but Tibetan bowls, played by a human. (the CD and download for that one is easy to find.)
Then, as I went down the internet rabbit hole like I often do when I find interesting music, I soon stumbled upon another piece by the same artist, “Tibetan Long Horns“, on YouTube …and that is the only place I could find it. It’s apparently a cassette rip from a C60 tape from 1980 (!) …and absolutely mesmerizing. I always loved the sound of these horns, and on this cassette rip the drones sound fuzzy, organic and warm. I wish I could find this as a digital download to properly pay for it. I can’t even play tapes anymore and the artist’s Bandcamp page is pretty much a stub, unfortunately.
Worth Your Time
Here are some articles and videos that I liked this month:
- Brain Drain: The Mere Presence of One’s Own Smartphone Reduces Available Cognitive Capacity (the headline says it all and you don’t have to read the whole thing but it’s interesting)
- Climate Change from A to Z (Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker; long read)
- Satellites detect no real climate benefit from 10 years of forest carbon offsets in California (insert snarky remark here)
- Cheetahs on Edge (video; simply astonishing 1200 frame per second high-speed camera footage)
- Social media may prevent users from reaping creative rewards of profound boredom
December was, not unexpected I guess, a pretty good month for print sales. Thanks to the art consultant/interior designer from Escondido, and the friendly art buyers from Whittier, Fresno, San Diego, Alameda, Santa Monica, and Solana Beach, California; from Brunswick, Georgia; from Glencoe, Illinois; from Dallas, Texas!
And that’s it for the month of December. Thanks for reading! Next up will be my selection of favorites from 2022, and then it’s time to send 2022 to bed. And in between, more deep breaths. :)
4 thoughts on “December 2022 End Notes”
So, did you ever get around to cleaning your desk? :-) Deep breaths.
The Tibetan Long Horns remind me of an old CD (I think) I have of Tibetan chanting, very deep and resonant voices. And your talk of it being on tape has me thinking of going back through my old tapes and finding any I haven’t purchased as CD or digital and seeing if I still have a working tape player I can use to convert to digital. Hhmmmmm….
Congratulations on all the end of year sales. That’s always fantastic to see. And speaking of fantastic to see, I think I recognize On The Trail from previous posts. A great image that puts the viewer right there in the scene.
Haha! Yes, I did clean up the desk! But by the time you’re commenting and I’m replying, some paperwork and notes have begun to accumulate there again, of course… :P
You are right about “On The Trail” – a few photos have sold multiple times at this point, and this is one of them.
Thanks much for stopping by, Todd.
What a beautiful selection! It’s nice to “walk around with you” and enjoy the beauty of nature.
Your twilight sceneries always touch me deeply.
Booth’s Sun Cup is wonderfully captured, and I totally understand that people like “distant songs” – it reminds me on some hikes in the austrian alps.
I also thought, if I would hang the Cove – but can’t explain why, I would have preferred it in/as portrait.
Thank you, Gabi! “Cove” is certainly a photo that works in both horizontal and vertical orientation. Funny thing: we have it on a wall at our house, in vertical orientation, part of a set of three such tide pool details! :D