Yes, I know - last Sunday has already been the second Advent Sunday, but you are used to me being at least one or two weeks behind with my posting here, and this is no exception.
Before I start properly on this post, let me give you a message from my Mum. She was overwhelmed by all your comments on her guest post about her father, and because she can not comment here herself anymore (we still have not figured out what's wrong), she asked me to pass her words on to you:
I feel very honoured by your comments, and your compliments make me blush! But I am happy to see that my feeling for my Papa came across so well, how much I loved and adored him. Thank you! - Meike's Mum.
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Now back to the days surrounding the 1st Advent Sunday. I spent that weekend at O.K.'s, and on the Satuday evening, after we had been busy all day with various things around and inside the house, we wrapped up VERY warmly and set off for a nightly walk. All day, it had been grey and overcast, and only about an hour before sunset did the sun finally come out. When the moon rose, it was large and bright, and we were looking forward to our walk taking us across moonlit fields.
The idea was to cover all three villages that form the administrative unit of Hohberg, with O.K.'s village being the "main" part. We wanted to see how the villages had decorated their respective town halls and churches, starting with O.K.'s village and its beautiful Christmas trees in front and on top of the town hall:
However, as we were walking on towards the next village, fog descended and became more and more dense. The church there still looked beautiful, but we were a little disappointed to see that their town hall was completely dark and without any visible decoration:
|St. Birgitta, Niederschopfheim|
Then followed a relatively long stretch of walking along a beck across the fields. There are no street lights or houses there, nothing to shed any artificial light on the path. The moon was shining brightly above the dense cover of fog, and the fog itself was giving up a strange, beautiful kind of brightness. We saw the path clearly, and the atmosphere on that part of our walk was simply wonderful - mysteriously romantic, and very special.
Arriving in the last of the three villages, we found that neither their town hall nor their church was lit up or decorated. But there was a large Christmas tree on the village green, and stars in a tree next to the church. My phone's camera was unable to get a clearer picture - this is what it made of the tree and the stars:
After another half hour or so of walking along the road (we met with little traffic, and for our safety had attached blinking lights to our coats, the kind you sometimes see on runners or people walking their dogs at night), we arrived back at O.K.'s village. The patron saint's little chapel at the top end of the village road was lit up. St. Gallus had his own Christmas tree:
For me, this had been a wonderful start of the Advent period.
Back home on Monday, my sister and I met up after work to buy a few things for our Christmas parcel to our family in Yorkshire. Soon, it was completely dark, and we went to see the market square; strangely beautiful with all its usual Christmas lights, but no stalls, no sounds, no scents of mulled wine, frying sausages and caramelised almonds, and of course no people:
This road leading onto the market square is usually bustling with people - you would find it as empty at this only in the middle of the night, hours after the Christmas market has closed, and hours before the first workers appear to clean up and start the day.
On Tuesday, the 1st of December, as if on cue, we had our first snowfall of this season! It was only a light dusting, but combined with all the other "advently" things I had been doing and seeing over the past few days, it put me into a very Christmassy mood:
It has not snowed again since, but we have had rain and solid grey skies all of last weekend. We still managed to go for two walks, a bit shorter than what we usually do, but good enough. Other than that, we have not been seeing anyone and are following the recommendations of self-isolating as much as possible so that we feel safe when we get together with our respective families again for Christmas.