Sunday 22nd December 2019

Winter Solstice

This morning, at sometime between 03.00 and 03.15am, I woke up feeling completely refreshed and fully alive!  It was only when I turned onto my back that the searing pain returned!  It took another 30 minutes before I was able to stand by the bedroom window and peer into the street where the darkness was diminished by the street lights.  It wasn’t raining but the tarmac glistened.

I left the bedroom, and with the aid of 2 walking sticks I shuffled my way down the hall and into the kitchen.  I turned on the small, softer lights, those above the worktops.  I sat at the kitchen table with a glass of cool water and waited.  It would be another hour before I could take medication.  It was 04.00am!

Whilst I sat there massaging my right leg, hopelessly trying to reduce the pain, I remembered that today was the Winter Solstice, mid-winter!  From today the sun would once again be slowly climbing higher above the horizon, imperceptibly bringing more daylight into our world.  This return of the light is part of the cycle of life, of increasing daylight and warmth.

It is shocking that at nearly 70 years of age, I am being reminded about the earth’s cycle of celebration (  In a little, illustrated book she writes about this time as a festival, of roots that have been growing within us, bringing stability:

The days will lengthen..…we can bring our inner wisdom out of the dark unconscious, to grow with the increasing light..…It is time to birth our visions, name our dreams and make our resolutions…..Winter Solstice is an opportunity to come out of hibernation, be loving, generous and sociable…..The old year has died and the way is now prepared for the rebirth of activity and expansion into the outer world.

Whilst it was still dark outside, I lit a candle.  Here in NI it was exactly 04.19am and surely a time to hope for a better future.  To all who pass this way, HAPPY YULE!

From A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day by John Donne:

Tis the year’s midnight, and it is the day’s,

Lucy’s, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks;


Since she enjoys her long night’s festival,

Let me prepare towards her, and let me call

This hour her vigil, and her eve, since this

Both the year’s, and the day’s deep midnight is.