Monday, December 14, 2009

Chasing the light

Yesterday I decided that no matter how unmotivated I was feeling, that it would be stupid to allow a lack of daylight to end up sucking the life and all the fun out of me.  There is nothing more miserable than feeling miserable, and in a defiant surge that welled up from somewhere, I decided I'm not the sort to give up in defeat.  I've decided to do a few things about this:
Just to give you an idea of what I'm dealing with here, I took this photo as a comparative illustration.  The bright part in the sky is what we normally DON'T see much of in the winter here.  It's RARE to see real sunlight, or blue sky.  The dark grey clouds are the normal sky-cover, as are the light levels in the photo that accompany them.  This was taken at 2pm.

*I'll be making a conscious effort to find as many ways to work sun exposure into my daily doings.  I'm hoping for a cumulative effect here.  I'll be finishing my Christmas cards today under the skylight, or by the window...wherever is brighter.  If it comes down to it, I'll buy one of those light-therapy lamps and read by it for a spell every day.
*Yoga.  Studies show that physical activity helps to ward off seasonal depression.  I've been neglecting my yoga mat a bit lately, and though it was partly due to injury, it's not as though I couldn't have modified my positions a bit and kept doing it.  So, the days where I'm not working (because when I'm working I'm moving a LOT) I'll be making sure to fit a yoga session into my day.  It's good for me, it usually makes me feel good, and ultimately there is no reason for me not to be doing it, other than that sometimes I am a lazy girl.
*Running.  This has posed a problem here, for sure.  The woods are off limits thanks to all the rain we get right now, not to mention that it's hunting season and I have neither a bright orange vest, nor the desire to be mistaken for a deer by someone who's got a rifle and one too many beer in them.  The cobblestones and very un-flat sidewalks around here regularly mess with my ankle BUT the boy and I are both restless, so we've taken to running after he comes home from work, about once a week on the university track (in the dark.)  It's flat, which is much better for my cranky ankle, and the light pollution from Liege provides enough light to see where you're going.  The only downside is that Boyfriend's maximum distance is about 5k whereas I prefer a session of 10k, but I'll take what I can get when I can get it.
*Weekend daytrips.  These are an excellent way to soak up the sunshine (through the car windows on the way to and from the destination) while avoiding the rain, humid cold, and wind that takes up residence here in the winter.  And we continue to see new places which is always a plus.  Yesterday we made our way to Orval, which is home of the Abbeye d'Orval, a Cistercian monastery that just happens to make one of my favoured beers.

I should preface these limited photos by mentioning that my camera died very early into our time here.  We will be visiting Orval again, so I'll show more photos next time we go.

This is part of the modern monastery grounds, (access to lay-people is very limited.)

Just next to the modern site, there are the ruins of the old church and monastery.  A 5 Euro contribution allows access to them, along with a museum of monastic artifacts (actually pretty cool,) and the silent area (which gives a feeling of immense space while being very, very quiet.)

The old church was built around 1100 AD.

The ruins are quite open for exploration.  There are several rooms and chambers off to the sides of the main room complete with descriptions of the activities that used to take place in these areas.

This is an access point to "Mathilde", the spring which provides water to the monastery, as well as its cheese-making facilities and brewery.  Legend has it that the widow Mathilda of Tuscany lost her wedding ring in the spring, and when she prayed for it to be returned to her, a trout appeared at the surface of the spring with the ring in it's mouth.  In gratitude, Mathilda made the funds available for the foundation of the monastery here.

Of course, we took a case of Orval home with us as well.  The beer you buy on-site has the added benefit of being aged for 6 months, whereas the Orval you can purchase anywhere else only has the guarantee of being aged for 4 weeks.  Other abbey-only products we'll be back for include the aged Orval cheese, and the beer cheese (which spends a full 24 hours bathing in the beer, glorious!)

Now, speaking of glorious, it is an incredibly rare blue-sky day here.  Sunshine in abundance!  This means it's time for me to take myself outside to soak up as much sunshine as I can get!

No comments: