Here in the northern hemisphere it is that time when both night and day are of equal length and from here on daylight reduces and the nights become longer. It’s a time for preparing for the colder months but it is also an opportunity to plan for the months beyond the winter.
It’s almost the middle of July and the night skies are light until late. However, if you want to look beyond our solar system, the James Webb Space Telescope has produced amazing pictures of deepest space.
Closer to home, on the 13th July here in the UK, we may see something amazing in the early evening!
For those who lift their eyes from the earth,
Here we are,On the hill of summer;
The longest day.
This is a verse I published last year and it so I happened that I was in the same place yesterday where my verse came to me! I hope you don’t mind me repeating it? When I first wrote it, I’d been browsing through one of my favourite books, The Hill of Summer by J.A. Baker. I just love the descriptive writing in that book. Baker is probably better known for his extraordinary book, The Peregrine.
(The title of J.A. Baker’s book, The Hill of Summer, comes from a line in A.E. Housman’s poem A Shropshire Lad.)
For several years my writing has been aligned to the four seasons, and in following the seasons more closely, I believe that I have changed too! Towards the end of December last year and through the Winter Solstice, I became aware of the need to return to a journey that began many years ago!
The Winter Solstice is a time when our inner wisdom moves out of the dark unconscious into the slowly increasing light. We can name our dreams and allow them to expand as the new year brings light and warmth.
Not so long ago I read a biography of Tenzin Palmo and some of her words resonate with me now as I write:
The purpose of life is to realise our spiritual nature, to go away and practice, to reap the fruits of the path, otherwise you have nothing to give anyone else.
You can find out about her here:
I have been writing for a very long time, since my teenage years, but I also have a passion for the visual arts especially illustration, and as we approach Imbolc at the end of January, I am reminded that intuition, inspiration, and the healing powers of this celebration of the life-force need to be addressed. Imbolc, Candlemas, Brigid’s Day, the earth awakening; these things are approaching.
I also think of Anthony Gormley’s words:
In creating art, participating in it, doing it, we become our true selves.
In one of the breathing exercises that I’ve been reading about recently, it was suggested that as I reached the fullness of my in-breath, I should pause, for just a moment, before exhalation. Noticing this pause would help to quieten the mind if practiced regularly.
Now, I’m only at the beginning of this journey but during my first attempts of this practice, my thoughts were taken right back to my childhood, to the swing tied to a big sycamore tree in the back garden. When alone, it was always exciting to see how high I could go; backwards and forwards, higher and higher!
Do you remember such moments, magical moments? For a second you floated, before gravity pulled you back towards the earth. This is what I recalled when I first started mindful breathing; a moment of wonder.
Today, I’m thinking of another magical moment, the winter solstice. I know the exact moment when the short dark days change to being longer and brighter, but being outside in the garden this morning, listening to the birds, I was aware of the underlying energy. A time of transition from cold and dark to growing warmth and light!
Why not celebrate this wonderful moment, this shift in the cycle of life and open yourself to being a part of Nature.
A woven garland,
Dressed with evergreens,
Hanging on an open door!