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.




12 thoughts on “Sunday 22nd December 2019

  1. Ashley-sama, That was a beautiful piece you just wrote, very powerful, reminding us of the importance of the solstice and the cycle that all of us live through. More people appreciated it years ago when they lived with nature…in the elements, so today’s audience must be reminded that the sun’s light and warmth return after the solstice. I hate that you’re in so much pain! I hope your pain diminishes with each passing day, Ash. Your friend, Ed

    1. Thank you, Edward-sama, yes we need to remind everyone about how precious this “pale blue dot” is to our future. Your friend, Ash.

  2. Dear Ashley,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and eloquent ‘four-liners’.
    I do hope the pain has gone and stays away and that wellness prevails as lighther (longer days) are returning.
    (Use all sorts of methods (I do): Shake, pat, caress, massage body/skin/muscles and stretch 45-60 sec. pr. large (leg) muscle before bedtime – and have a few – gentle – words with that body and brain: “relax, you hear “).
    A very merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.

    1. Dear Marina, you are one of the stars in my vision of the world. I shall try what you suggest and hope that it will at least shorten the period of pain. I never thought sciatica was this traumatic.
      A very happy healthy and peaceful Christmas to you and your family. A hug from NI.

  3. Sorry to read of your enduring sciatica pain. What a misery. All the very best for managing that. And thank you for the good things you present to the world in spite of it. All the very best for the season of the solstice and the return of the light.

    1. Thank you Josie, I don’t bare my soul often but this sciatica is the worst pain I have ever had to endure. I promise not to go on about it! Wishing you a very happy Christmas.

  4. IDear Ashley, I do share your words about light coming with winter solstice.
    I Do hope your will feel better; soon.
    Did you try to rest in bed, simply listening at radio music or interesting theatre, readings ?
    A loved person of my family used to do that, and she was very wise.

    Thank you for joingning my blog !
    I wish you a quiet, Christmas Day – and afterwards.
    Do take care and enjoy pieces of happiness when they come.

    France 🙂

    1. Thank you for you kind thoughts. I shall follow you blog and see where it takes me! Unfortunately, Je ne parle qu’un peu Francais, so I will have to use a translator link and miss some of the nuances! Happy Christmas!

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