At the year's turning ...
I'm convinced that many of the pressures of life in December are born out of the diminishing amount of daylight, which in turn makes us think our days are shorter, that we should be hibernating for longer every night. Mine, of course, are also exacerbated by my attempting to do too much at midnight (like now) and then not getting up in the morning; it's not so much that I sleep any later than when I was working, but I do like to sit in bed with a mug of Darjeeling and peruse my social media accounts ...
Anyway, this shortest day began in gloom with the blackbird's song and a washing done lest we run out of essentials just as our Christmas plans turn out to be possible. I also made sourdough and set it aside to rise, remembering to refresh my starter and clean some of the mess off the top of the jar. After coffee, it was time to head back up to church to rehearse with one other singer for Midnight Mass on the 24th. Three of us, in the freezing, unspoiled Tractarian Gothic of our 1850 building, singing plainsong and the Coventry Carol - my Christmas is made before I even get to it!
Home for some hot soup and then - determined to make a stab at normal life - out for a walk in Benmore Gardens while there was still enough light to see by. We met one couple just on their way out as we entered; after that we were on our own among the tall trees, climbing the hill till we were level with some low cloud in the glen. We met a gardener on our way down, sitting on a tree stump with his chain saw beside him, waiting for the little all-terrain buggy to come and take him and his gear back down the hill. We stopped to talk for quite a few minutes, about the silence, the meaning of Christmas, the writings of Richard Holloway ... I recommended he look for some of the poetry of R.S.Thomas, and we headed off as his lift chugged up the track.
By the time we were back at the car it was almost dark - just after 4pm - and we were home in time for me to ice my cake* at last (icing a tad stiff cos of my smallish eggs, I think - wasn't able to do my usual 1960s peaks) and do my Italian before making dinner. No choir, of course - that's us off till the new term - so it didn't feel like Tuesday at all.
Blipping the lights at Benmore Galleries, where the offices are, in the buildings at the west end of the Gardens. Lights in the darkness as the year turns.
* My 48th cake! (I counted)
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