Winter Solstice. the solstice is here after a strange December. Rain and more rain . Some amazing sunrises , some grey and atmospheric days and that wonderful light.
To mark the occasion I popped to Arbor Low which to my joy was deserted. I had my sketchbook and tools and a Solstice offering. The energy and vibrations were strong , the wind was cold and the sky was big. Perfection. Winter is here.
Overnight snow continued into the day so undeterred we donned our gear and headed out on our favourite walk after a hearty breakfast. After a while the snow turned to rain yet we felt really invigorated in the wintery conditions .In the fields the sheep looked fed up and were showing signs that lambing will soon begin. Only Rooks and Carrion Crows braved the day, robins flitted in and out of the hawthorn.Soaked but happy we arrived home for a late lunch .
Two days never the same .A glorious ramble towards Howden moor one day followed by gothic folk horror mists two days later. The wonder is that both have a beauty of their own . Everything seems inspirational. The wonderful huge skies of the moors and the experience of a Buzzard emerging from the mists on the high peak trail at dusk. Magical Times!
Christmas flew by. December brought us snow and ice and the Winter Solstice.My residency at Isla Fine Art continues to be a success with more sales.A lovely suprise. Dusk walks are spectacular as well.A fine end to the year was completed with an expedition with my buddy Billy Bye…
In the last few years I have become more appreciative of the weeks leading up to the winter solstice. Wrapping yourself in the shorter days and longer nights ,paying attention to the movement of the sun and the sharpness of the light on the land ,letting the icy winds ,snow and rain invigorate the spirit and change the mindset. Watching flocks of starlings dance in the grey skies, noticing the redwings and fieldfares dash from tree to tree .Being enthralled by the incredible dawn and beautiful sunsets. Enjoying the activities at the bird feeder over coffee , evening walks under glittering skies ,the sound of owls calling outside the window in the dead of night.The silent lands waits sometimes snow covered, bare trees etched against the leaden skies while clouds hurry across the horizon. Homemade soup ,quiet music ,quiet spirit. The world is in waiting. It is so easy to wish away these times but if we keep in step with nature and still ourselves there is much benefit for our well being. Easy to say ,harder to do .Keep a fire burning if you are fortunate to have a hearth ,let candlelight bless you, the year will soon be turning.The seeds of creativity and energy are quietly germinating in the dark. The Winter Solstice and Yuletide will soon be on us.
Listening : Jeff Pearce ” from the darker season”. George Winston “December” .Jim Ghedi “Hymn for Ancient Land”
We are on the High Peak Trail .A gale is storming in over the Staffordshire moorlands.Spots of icy rain sting the cheeks bringing a wonderful sense of exhilaration and joy . Everything is alive in the wake of these strong winds that whip our coats and seek to rip off our hoods.Now and then the morning sun rips a gash in wind driven clouds .Shafts of light resembling search lights illuminate the horizon. Being in the presence of the power of nature brings such freedom. We laugh and watch a gathering of Rooks and jackdaws who seem to be playing in the sky. The wind swirls them up and down.They ride the storm calling “raak” and “Jack Jack” in what appears to be absolute joy.(Life lesson ! When the storms come ride them don’t fight them ? Easy to say hard to do). The birds swoop and swirl as we watch.Wonderful stuff in the Peak District.
Suddenly it’s the 22nd of November.This month is flying by.A mixture of dealing with the garden ,walking under both awe inspiring skies and leaden clouds and rain. Autumn has bled into winter and the remaining leaves are resplendent.
October 31. Life and Death. Our Samhain celebration started with a favourite walk. The morning was still and slightly overcast. We encountered a greater spotted woodpecker (unusual) early on. After a couple of miles we paused only to hear a Crow’s call that echoed like a gunshot in the stillness. The land stretched out before us.Entering the wood was almost a reverential act .It seemed as though all of Nature was saying farewell to Summer and hello to Winter such was the quietness. We walked mostly in silence lost in our own thoughts and meditations .A late lunch of homemade parsnip and apple soup made for a perfect end to our excursion. As darkness fell I set up the Samhain portal mirrors and fire pit .The moon partially hidden watched over us as we lit the fire. Little Owls called from the fields beyond the garden as we stood quietly in the firelight.The fires consumed the years unhappy memories and we gave thanks for the goodness we have received. Winter and cold will come soon now along with warm jumpers ,boots and scarves. Time for enjoying the rhythm of the seasons and accepting the dark and cold , understand the meaning of “winter” and looking forward to the light of rejuvenation.
Great to wander around within a couple of miles of home.The River Lathkil is a shadow of its former self. The deep green waters are no longer .The days of the beautiful river seem to have passed.The damage done by mining now taking its toll.we hoped to catch a kingfisher but no joy.The vegetation is dieing back now .A sure sign that winter is close