Saturday, 15 December 2012

The virtual drinks are on me

Yesterday probably wasn’t the best of days, I hadn’t been feeling so good anyway but went out to do some Christmas shopping and get a bit of, ahem, publicity all the same. It poured with rain and I ended up looking like a drowned rat on crutches, with a suggestion of the kind of person you’d cross the road to avoid. I need a makeover and a break.

Not so good – “the darkest night of the year” – except it isn’t.

I hope you will all share a virtual drink with me on the night of the 21st, the winter solstice. A night of revelry and bonfires, to celebrate the casting out of the old devil and the return of the sun from its holiday – the days get longer every day. Yay!

Not far from where I’m typing this is a very old yew tree and depending how strongly you feel about it, it’s between 1000 and 2000 years old. Its branches have grown down to the ground and then cast their own roots, while the original trunk has rotted away leaving only a ring of knarled and knotted wood, so that you can put you head inside. People come to walk around its extended trunk and look into its twists and turns to see faces. I have to admit it’s a tree that deserves a hug. It’s a sacred tree, people leave ribbons and gifts in surprising amounts.

At the solstices the followers of the “old religions” assemble and have little ceremonies. Actually, it’s a modern thing and the numbers are quite large. Mind you, it always was the kind of villiage which had its fair share of people who might have had a little wax model and a box of pins handy, just in case.

Whatever rocks your boat, the 21st is a great day with a hint of new life in the air.


Neil Harris

(and I’m still not stopping till I’m dropping)

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