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Dear Bay Weekly:

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The Great Winter Circle beckons you to come outdoors

With solstice behind us, we’re in the full throes of winter. Long nights with little or no humidity make for great star-watching, even as the cold saps the desire to stay outside. As if to further lure us into the conundrum, winter skies are alight with some of the brightest stars in the heavens, contained within the Great Winter Circle and all neatly gathered in a ring surrounding the familiar figure of Orion.

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Natalie Portman pirouettes to the dark side in this ballet thriller

When watching ballet dancers leap and spin across a stage, it’s hard to remember that these dedicated athletes punish their bodies to create such grace. Director Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler) is happy to remind you. His psychological dance thriller (which may be the best new genre in years) — Black Swan is awash with close-ups of battered toes, bony arms and raw bloody flesh — and that’s just the normal ballerinas. 

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Plus official counts you can join

It is hard to remember a transformation such as we just had, when the season seemed to change suddenly, with the decisiveness of a no-nonsense business executive. November was pleasant and mild, warm but not unseasonable, with enough rain and cold to bring out the sweaters and not fool us into thinking we had all been transplanted to Georgia.

Then December came along and it was winter. The calendar might haves said not quite yet, but the thermometer said Now!

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Why some oaks hold their leaves

Some oak trees retain their brown leaves all winter long, while others drop their leaves like all other trees. The reason is juvenility. It takes 25 to 30 years for an oak seedling to mature. Until it starts to produce acorns, the tree is in a juvenile state of growth and retains brown leaves all winter. As the oak approaches maturity, the ends of the branches near the top of the tree drop their leaves in the fall....

Oh the things you can see!

In the cathedral of the forests, the mysteries and magic of Mother Nature come alive. 

Through the soaring pillars of trees, rising in arching canopies, streams of sunlight reflect on the forest floor. In cathedrals of nature and of faith, we are awed in the presence of harmony.

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The Annapolis Chorale takes Messiah to the masses

In the middle of the shopping rush on the last Saturday before Christmas, one Nordstrom customer stopped browsing and started singing. Another 100 voices joined in, singing a seemingly impromptu but suspiciously professional “Hallalujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah.

The reason for the effortless harmony: The Annapolis Chorale was adding an enticing fourth performance to the usual three nights of singing the Messiah.

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Local volunteers keep Bay cleanup moving in spite of missed deadline

2010 was supposed to be the year we cleaned up the Bay. 

Its nutrient- and sediment-reduction and dissolved-oxygen and underwater grass-improvement goals: all deadlines we missed.

But as 2010 ends, many people are still working for a cleaner Chesapeake.

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Forget the holidays and laugh!

The Bay Theatre Company hits new heights of hilarity with The Foreigner, Larry Shue’s award-winning comedy about personal transformation and miscommunication. Judging from opening night’s nearly full house, local audiences are finally taking note. It’s about time, too, for Annapolis’ only professional theatre, always solid, has matured into exceptional....

Dear Bay Weekly:

I love Diana Beechener’s Dec. 9 article on all the different calendars. However, the website link for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s calendar is incorrect. The correct url is www.cbf.org/store.

Thanks!

–Kim Ethridge, Electronic & Interactive Media Manager: Chesapeake Bay Foundation
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