The first of December marks the beginning of advent and for a lot of people, myself included. This is when the mental shift from autumn to early winter takes place. When the alarm goes off in the morning the darkness in the room is indistinguishable from night. The kitchen tiles chill bare feet making slippers a breakfast time staple. School run means fog breathe in front of faces, mist diffusing the weak winter sun on a clear day or saturated clouds shrouding dawn convincing us it is night time still. Spindly branches reveal more of themselves and the most persistent autumn leaves blaze a fierce swan song. I am forever grateful to the last of yellow leaves of the silver birch tree. Early morning walks are carpeted by slippery umber mulch, Christmas lights adorned trees, the street and shopping precincts, railing against the darkness that seeps into the days like ink onto a fresh sheet of paper.
The solstice of Yule marks the shortest day of the year. The sun dips below the horizon swallowed by the earth like a seed – not dead but dormant- and like a seed it emerges three days later, reborn. This time of year is one of reflected and rest. On harnessing the power of stillness. It is a fallow period. We eat the light where we can’t see it – jams made of fruits of the summer, soups made of seasonal veg. Sharing meals with loved ones.
This week I shall focus on letting the dark in, embracing it rather than resisting it because it will be resisted. Accepting that there is healing in turning inwards and that the dark represents the dark belly of the earth from which life and therefore creativity springs forth.
Each week I shall commit to do three things relating to my focus: make, eat and do. To welcome the dark I shall make a wreath using clippings from trees in my garden: holly, yew, eucalyptus and ivy. I shall eat a homemade soup. I shall go on a mindful walk at dusk and observe the beauty of the fading light.