Saturday, 31 December 2011

Turning the Pages

The valley in which our little town sits is muted by a veil of misty rain. Everything is hazy and still. The only movement I can see from my window is the swoops and swirls of gulls on the wing. All is silent, all is calm. Tonight will be very different as the streets fill with revellers, all whooping and hollering in drunken song, and the sky will be lit with fireworks in that time honoured need of the human race to mark the passing of the year.

As a pagan, as a Druid, I mark the year as it turns in many ways. Small, yet significant, ways which mark not the end of one long year and the starting of the new, but the highs and lows of the seasons, the hope and the harvest, the sun and the snows, the rains and the four winds and the turning of the tides. I know there is no end of one year, no starting of the new. Nature knows no end, no beginnings, only an ever continuing cycle. A cycle of repetition and change, of life and death and rebirth, but no endings, no beginnings.

And yet the man I am will look back on this last year and will take stock regardless, and start out with new hope, new ideas for the new year. Because I am human and it is our way. We have a need to mark the passage of time, to box up and label the memories, to start a new chapter, to pat ourselves on the back or kick ourselves up the backside- whichever is more appropriate. And hopefully from there we will build on what we have achieved, or learn from our mistakes and move on. 

Happy New Year, may 2012 be full of blessings and may you follow your dreams where ever they may lead you.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Winter Walks and Granddad Grinch

Its fair to say I'm not a huge fan of this particular season. The cold is not a friend to my aching bones and all the Christmas hype and commercialism really gets up my nose. The temptation to dig a big hole in the garden and hide there from December 1st through to January, emerging only for the Solstice, is incredibly strong. And before you cry 'Bah Humbug', I bet you'd join me if you had the chance. Go on, admit it, if you could avoid the endless and shameless consumerism, the family rows, the financial headache and the obscene over-indulgence, you would, wouldn't you?

I do however, have a confession to make. I don't hate it all half as much as I make out. But I have a reputation to keep up. Having long ago donned my scrooge cap, it is expected of me. My wife and daughter dubbed me Granddad Grinch a few years ago, and taught my second grandson to say that long before he understood what it meant. It provided much amusement for them and I was happy to play the part. But still, I think there is a tiny part of all of us that yearns for roaring open fires, roasted chestnuts, and quiet snowfall blanketing the frozen earth (as long as I don't have to go out in it). But shhhh, that's a secret. You can keep a secret, can't you?

We've just come back from a week away visiting family and doing the 'santa run'. With nine children and seven grandchildren between us (number 7 was born during our visit much to my wife's delight) santa was particularly busy this year! I got to meet my youngest granddaughter for the first time and lost my heart. She's beautiful and a real charmer at just seven weeks old. It was great to see everyone, catch up and chew the fat even though the Grinch in me is glad to be home.

While half the planet is getting excited about the imminent arrival of Santa Claus, I've already had everything I could possibly want, a beautiful new Granddaughter, a wonderful wife, and a plentiful supply of wood. Everyone from my in-laws to my ex-wife have been collecting wood for me and my little work room is bursting at the seams. I have tall pieces, short pieces, twisty, curly pieces, strange pieces, amazing pieces and my imagination is working overtime. I have to say a huge thank you to everyone who now spends their time outdoors searching the floor for anything I can use. I can't wait to get going.

The first few days of our visit were spent dashing about trying to get to see everyone, making sure all the presents were delivered, but once 'Santa's' work was done there was time to relax before the long drive home.
I absolutely love this wood my in-laws took us to visit. It is a heavily managed woodland, copiced and cared for by teams of volunteers, yet still maintains a wonderfully tranquil feel.

Full of surprises, we came across a recently cleared section of woodland and discovered this wonderful chair. Needless to say, my wife now wants a couple of them for the garden. I've got a lot of work to be going on with, but I am looking forward to trying something different.

As the sun began to set we came across a wilder section of the wood with a magical feel, every inch alive with creatures of this world and other world, just beyond our sight.

 I hope everyone had a wonderful Solstice, full of light and love and laughter.

Saturday, 3 December 2011


Sometimes we need to take a bit of time out.
Sometimes we need to realign our focus.
Sometimes we need some space.
Sometimes we need reminding we are great.
And sometimes we need to see how small we really are.
Sometimes we need to feel real power.
And sometimes we need to let that power go.
Sometimes we need to put things in perspective.
And there is nothing like the might of the Ocean for doing that.