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My Months: February 2022 round-up

Three side-by-side photos of the same seaside landscape in winter, showing a white boathouse, the ocean, and faraway mountains, on a purple and gold evening, a grey and snowy day, and a crisp blue morning.
Three side-by-side photos of the same seaside landscape in winter, showing a white boathouse, the ocean, and faraway mountains, on a purple and gold evening, a grey and snowy day, and a crisp blue morning.

February came and just knocked me off my feet, in a bad way. I had anticipated that January would be hard, but forgot it’s actually February that usually does the most damage for me. I have a five-year journal that lets me see what the same date each year was like, and February has been shit since 2019.

This month saw the pandemic “re-opening” of Norway, which came with unhelpful footnotes that vulnerable people “ought to shield, but not isolate themselves.” Not gonna lie, it made me feel pretty left behind, or rather, separate again, just like I was before the pandemic.

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My Months: January 2022 round-up

Yes, I’ve decided that I might enjoy writing some kind of monthly summary here. Mostly for myself, because it’s interesting to look back like that, both short- and long-term. But I also enjoy reading roundups by other people, so I thought some of you might, too! The categories can change, we’ll see (suggestions are welcome!). So here we are: my January 2022.


Three side-by-side photos of the same seaside landscape in winter, showing a white boathouse, the ocean, and faraway mountains, in three different kinds of weather. The first photo has golden light and a mix of blue and hazy sky. The second is deeply blue and pink, taken as the sun has just set, with a visible moon. The third has a lighter sky, with drifting grey clouds.
Three side-by-side photos of the same seaside landscape in winter, showing a white boathouse, the ocean, and faraway mountains, in three different kinds of weather and light.

Outside the window:

Two enormous eagles. Flocks of the tiniest birds.  A swimming otter. Army helicopters. Endless snow, up to the living room windowsills. Young people down in the boathouse late at night one weekend, the lights inside glowing in the dark. The SUN, after months without.

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A love story

I can read again.

Sometime this past December, something in my brain seemed to click. I can’t explain it, I’d done nothing differently. Just a few weeks earlier, reading had been as hard as usual for me ever since that virus damaged my brain five years ago. But this one day, desperate for entertainment that wasn’t the news/Instagram/YouTube ad nauseam, I opened the Kindle app on my phone.

I might not be able to stay there long, but anything would be better than my worn-down Internet trails. And for the first time in almost exactly five years, the dizziness and nausea just… didn’t come. It felt a bit odd, sure, but not directly unpleasant. I read for half an hour or so, then reluctantly closed the app, not wanting to push my luck. My pause was short-lived, though — I couldn’t keep myself away. It felt like breathing again. It felt like coming home, after half a decade away.

You see, reading and writing is something I’ve always done. I actually can’t remember not knowing how to read. One of my earliest memories is sitting on a pink bean bag, listening to Disney stories on a walkman and reading the accompanying book, while the house I grew up in was built up around me. I could sit there for hours, lost in that first, innocent infatuation with words.

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Split the lark

There’s a TV show called Dickinson, about the American poet Emily Dickinson. It’s modernized and witty and wild, and pretty surreal at times (which I love), clearly borrowing tricks from what Moulin Rouge did so well back in the day. Dickinson also has its problems, and it won’t be for everyone, but there was this one scene that gave me an experience I can’t stop thinking about. And my dilemma is this: part of the experience was my surprise, which you won’t get if you read this before watching it. But I’ll go ahead anyway, and let you decide for yourself, so: brief spoilers ahead, especially for season two, episode six.

A little context: Emily Dickinson was probably, very probably, queer. The show is certainly based on that theory, focusing on her romantic relationship with Sue, a childhood friend who marries Emily’s brother (both in real life and in the show). In this particular episode, Emily and Sue’s relationship has been strained for a while. Emily has also been connecting with a man, someone who wants to publish her poems, but whose attention also seems more personal.

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On the equinox

There’s something about the year’s equinoxes and solstices that I’m so drawn to. I like how they mark the way the world moves, how the earth and the sun keep dancing around, almost like people, sometimes close together, sometimes far apart.

As I live in a place with four distinct seasons (though some of you would definitely laugh at our summers!), it’s nice to mark how they change. The winter solstice feels especially important. We have polar nights here, which means that from December 2nd until January 10th, the sun is too far below the horizon to see it at all — and those dates only apply to particular places in the city, so many houses won’t see the sun for even longer. But the winter solstice is a logical, emotional reassurance that the season has turned and the sun will come back.

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