Sunday, 3 February 2013

Of Bread and Breakers and Beginnings

January has been long and hard and I'm glad it is behind me. It has been cold and tough. It has been a challenge. My health has been poor, our finances have been low and it has been cold...did I mention that? It's been bloody freezing in fact, and I hate being cold. My aching bones protest more violently as each year passes and I feel less inclined to fight it. The urge to withdraw is strong, to simply gather in and huddle up and forget the outside world exists at all. Cocoa and hot water bottles are my preferred companions at times like this and that makes me feel old and weary as the world whirls around me without me in it.
The leaden grey skies weighed heavy throughout January and inspiration seemed hard to come by. Even my workroom seemed a cold and uninviting place, but I wonder, maybe this is natural through the grey months of the year? We put so much focus on January as a time of fresh starts and new beginnings and yet this is an unnatural, artificial and enforced start dictated by the calendar rather than the season. A series of days and numbers, collected together and forced upon us, manipulating our lives, our focus, our patterns. If we were to take away the calendar what would we do? If we threw all those days and months and numbers up in the air and said forget them, they're not important, what would happen? Would we fall apart, unable to keep in step or would we settle into a more natural pattern, one that fits with the rhythms of our bodies and the cycles of the earth?
We set our lives by that 'magical' first day, first month, and wipe the slate clean of all that has gone before, filling ourselves with false hope and irrational expectations when, in reality, nothing has changed. It's just another day, just another month. We force ourselves into fresh starts, new diets, new challenges, at a time when perhaps we should be drawing in and resting, recovering, recharging... and preparing for the fresh starts still to come.
Far better, I think, to be still through the dark, to keep warm through the bitter cold. To wait, to watch, to think, to plan, to build strength ready for the coming of spring and launch all those new plans at a time of growth.
January, for me, was a time to snuggle up and enjoy those simple home comforts of love and soup and homemade bread (something my wife excels at)
Fresh from the oven
Soda Bread
and I am more than happy to eat as much as she can make. There is joy to be had from a warm, buttered, golden loaf on a cold, grey day. It is pleasure beyond measure.
And on those rare days I ventured out, I soaked up the beauty of the wild coast to feed my soul,
Wild Cornish Coast
Waves Crashing onto Cornwall
drawing in energy ready for the turning of the seasons and new beginnings and a return to work.
Blessed Imbolc.

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