All over Pagan Patheos and the majority of the Pagan blogosphere you will be reading posts about the beautiful and probably warm and sunny summer solstice, or Litha. Fantastic. I wish I could do the same. But I will let you in on a little known secret…
It’s winter down here.
Winter solstice. Yule. But I don’t celebrate the winter solstice, for numerous reasons. Partially it reminds me of Christmas, I can barely deal with the one we have in summer. But mostly, every time I tried to celebrate yule, it never worked out.
But I like winter. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely hate the cold, with a passion, and I cannot wait for summer when I can start complaining about the heat again. But I love winter. I love how it feels inside me. I love how it feels so clean and clear, like a pure unblemished crystal. I love how it feels so fresh and spacious. Summer with its heat and yellow light feels full, which is great too. But winter with its cold and what is kind of a white light feels empty, like you have room to breathe in this crowded world.
Other than the cold the only thing I really hate about winter is that fly. That single fly that manages to stay alive the entire winter, inside my house. Surviving all my attempts of “getting rid of it”. Every winter. I bet it’s the same damn fly every year too. You might say that’s impossible, but I might not care.
Today was a lovely day, the sun was out (it was still cold though) and it was bright in that clear white way. The kids and I ventured down the road to do our weekly shopping and I was suddenly confronted with this rare beauty.
And they were all over the town, everywhere. But don’t be fooled.
My town was yarn bombed over the weekend – apparently it’s international yarn bombing week or day or something. They do it every year – with council permission. It started with woollen beanies left on top of all the low poles in the main street of town. The next year, the bench chairs in the town centre were covered in their own awesome blankets. Last year, they knitted over the top of bicycles and left them lying around town. These things are always zip tied or chained to keep them where they belong. But no one ever seemed to try to steal them (well except the beanies that did slowly disappear over the following weeks). But the bikes stayed for over a month last year.And this year we have little fly agarics. And I love it. My kids had a ball trying to find them all as we walked around town. They were hiding all over the place, in all the little gardens we have in the main street, next to and behind our trademark elms, next to our public bins and benches and statues. Everywhere. It was beautiful.
Fly Agaric. Imagine that.
Today I listened to a lady I have never seen before (odd in my little town) tell me that her son had recently died, she told me how hard she was having to work and how tired she is because she is his sole executor and power of attorney. She told me how she dreaded receiving mail, because it would either be sympathy or legal crap. I gave her no sympathy or pity, because she didn’t want or need it, and by doing so I gave her something better.
I got to watch as something inside of her lifted when I described to her my feelings last year when my father died, how I was so busy taking care of everything (not alone I may add) that I never got the chance to actually really feel what I needed to feel. Something inside of her lifted when she was confronted with someone who understood why she spoke of her son dying as though it made her feel nothing. Because she couldn’t feel anything, and I was there telling her it was okay.
I don’t celebrate the winter solstice. I haven’t adapted the Hellenic calendar to my area yet, so I don’t celebrate any winter festival. But I do celebrate winter. I feel winter. I feel it in the cold in my bones. I feel it in the fly buzzing around my head. I feel it in the clear crystal light. I feel it in the clean fresh air. I feel it in the spacious open world. I see it in the eyes of an old lady who just wanted a cigarette and instead got renewed strength because I gave no sympathy, just an ear and a relatable story.
And I see it in the fly agaric, “growing” where it has never grown before.
I was meant to be posting the 3rd instalment of 180 Degrees of Separation today, but chose this one instead. I will post the 180 Degrees post on Friday, Aus time (Thursday for most of the rest of you).