2021 is coming to a close and it is the last day of the last month of my “Sound Calendar”.
Although I have been listening carefully throughout December for something in nature that would represent this 12th month of the year, it has not appeared on my sonic horizon.
Instead I have chosen an audio clip, I have called “Time”. In December it seems to run away with itself, particularly in advent. It can feel hectic. And yet there is also a feeling of time slowing down when Christmas arrives; perhaps it even stands still? Time takes on a heightened significance as the old year comes to an end and we prepare for the new.
You can listen to the audio clips for the full 12 months of 2021 in:
We are very close to the midwinter solstice and the shortest day. Physical darkness predominates at this time of year – often during the daylight hours as well. We frequently encounter grey, overcast skies. What a delight it is when we see the winter sun, or perhaps an occasional rainbow.
Even the sight of the full moon’s brightness brings joy.
We yearn for the light in winter and as advent advances, I find myself more and more enjoying not only the warmth of the fire, but also the heart-warming orange glow of the embers.
Irrespective of our religious beliefs, this time of year is very often a time of preparation, and perhaps also reflection. For me, certain activities enhance the sense of anticipation – the printing of a Christmas card in Studio Hundy or cutting greenery from the garden for a garland or door wreath; these are all part of what makes the lead up to Christmas special.
The earth feels as if it is somehow “slumbering” now, but there is still a lot of activity in nature, particularly amongst the many birds that visit our garden.
What a fantastic treat I had earlier in the week when I was refilling the feeder on the tall birch tree. Just before I came down from the ladder, a Long-tailed-tit perched itself on a branch just inches away. A few minutes later a “flock” of 8 to 10 of these beautiful birds arrived. The message was out!
Such synchronicity, given the lino-cut print I had prepared earlier in the month as my Christmas card!
In the mid-point of Winter, when the ground is often under a layer of frost, there is a very gradual stirring of nature’s activity. Snowdrops appear, greeting us with their bright white petals; a promise of the new light of Spring to come.
On Saturday evening (2nd February) we celebrated Candlemas in our garden, bringing forward some of that promised light to the apparently dormant earth. A spiral of candles, laid on the crisp ground, symbolised the potential that the earth has to offer as winter gradually fades into spring.
Our fire bowl kept us warm, heated a delicious squash & chestnut soup and created the link that Candlemas has to the ancient Celtic festival of Imbolc – the first fire festival of the year.
A clear dark sky was flooded with stars. Sirius, bright and clearly visible below Orion’s “belt”, twinkling in colours ranging from blue to red.