welcome winter

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The first frost has kissed Bristol this week – the “scrit-sshhhh, scrit-sshhhhh” of neighbours scraping ice off car windscreens called me to the window to see. I, in turn, called my little boy to witness this seasonal magic trick from nature.

The air certainly has a chilly bite. Most of the trees are bare and eerily skeletal. Their vulnerability, beauty, ugliness, wisdom, intricacy, strength and true form is all revealed and these themes remind me of some of the chambers of my soul that I seem to have visited lately. Leaves lie in the shadows of their trees on the ground beneath them like worshippers at an honoured teacher’s feet. My garden is a soggy, rotting tangle of the year’s debris some of it probably gangrenous by now. Even our hardy nasturtiums, who have clung on this long, now surrender to the chilly blanket that winter pulls over the earth to tuck her up to sleep.

Welcome winter. For me, like many, the year begins at Samhain. Although I celebrate this festival on October 31st for the sense of communal festivity with everyone else marking that date, I personally celebrate Samhain as a turning of Autumn to Winter when I feel that shift for myself. This day is kind of my New Year’s Day. However, In the practicalities of busy day-to-day life, it’s not quite possible to drop everything to party! On the day this week when I really felt that winter had come, I was able to go for a walk around my local park with my son noticing the signs of the season, the weather, the light etc. During this week we’ve exchanged the autumn books for the winter ones in his seasonal book basket, cleared, cleaned and started to re-decorate our nature table, changed a few things in the house to better suit our winter needs, and begun organising festive gifts.  Simple things that hopefully will become familiar seasonal rituals, grounding our family in natures rhythm.

This weekend I intend a little more celebration – a simple ritual and bit of special-ness to greet the New Year. On a weekend when many in the US may well be extending their Thanksgiving festivities, I like the thought of many of us engaged in celebrations of different kinds – it’s a good vibe to be going around the world. Welcome winter: may we be open to your insights, patient with your challenges and touched by your magic! ♥

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