Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Well it's the Winter Solstice or Yule, if you want to go all pagan. Anyway it's the shortest day of the year.
This winter is proving a particularly severe one; we've got huge piles of snow in the drive and the news programmes are full of 'travel chaos' stories. Walking out with Theo I can't help reflecting on how pagan peoples viewed this time of year. Their lives were so much more basic than ours, the prospect of a major freeze must have been both catastrophic and terrifying. When I look at the louring sky full of snow, blotting out the light, I wonder what they made of it, sitting in their ramshackle shelters around a log fire for warmth. The sun was so important to them, its absence and the death of nature all around must have filled them with the most primeval fear.
And even today with the benefits of heating and artificial light we get a sense of that gloom. But on the plus side, once this day is passed the days will gradually get longer again and before we know it Spring will be here. Although it's hard to imagine at the moment...