Friday, December 21, 2018

Winter solstice

Winter sun
This time of year always strikes me as a step out of time.  Everything seems to stop for the Festive Season.  And the commercial side aside, I like the idea of a pause to gather thoughts, contemplate intentions, and mull over the possibilities of setting off anew.
Barbara Hepworth: Winter Solstice (image from here)
The Winter Solstice marks a beginning of winter, being the shortest day and the longest night, heralding for me a time to make sure we notice what is close at hand.  The light gets stronger, the day longer, slowly from now, so the sharp external views are short but can be more intense.  The internal views, the thinking, the considering can be long and deep.
Gail Brodholt: Winter Solstice (image from here)
Even in the days when I was commuting this day marked the imminent change of focus.  Although the images that Winter Solstice brings to mind are those of countryside, most of us spend our time in urban landscape.  Winter is a good time to notice the bare bones of those surroundings too - such as in Iain Sarjeant's photographs.
Also a good time of year for folklore, I particularly like these illustrations above and below by Carson Ellis for Susan Cooper's poem The Shortest Day.  I am not so much for the revelling, but here is a reading of it with a more contemplative piece of music by Thea Gilmore.  The text below is taken from here.

The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper
So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, fest, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!

We don't put up the greenery, decorations, or cards until Christmas Eve, but I shall start the mulled fruit punch this evening.  Thank you for visiting the blog, and I hope that all of you greatly enjoy this Festive Season in your own way.

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