Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Winter Solstice Waking

Hey, I've just woken up with a xmas morning sort of feeling, as if I've something to celebrate, which is a bit odd because I'm not a party animal..., Unless I am, and I just hadn't realised, and the winter solstice is a big deal, isn't it, in a mathematical, geographical, world-tipping-over sort of way, because after today it'll all be downhill, like easy going, until midsummer and beyond, won't it. Won't it?

Well, no. For a couple of months at least, it'll be increasingly grim (apart from having a little more daylight), and it would surely make more sense to celebrate having got through a winter, than having reached the start or middle of one. Wouldn't it. My own internal clock(s) tell me that here at Britain's latitudes the seasons aren't of equal length, but if each season is thirteen weeks long, then the middle of February would be a good time to start thinking that we might not starve, nor die of cold, and that we might then still have enough flour in the bin, turnips in the clamp, and dried apples in the loft, to almost ensure our survival into another summer. If the spring isn't too wet.

So saying, it's highly likely that in the bleak midwinter those ancient dudes did have a significant party involving many days of excessive consumption and for that I think we owe them considerable respect for having contrived a lifestyle which allowed them the confidence to use up a lot of their stored food and drink at a time when for weeks and weeks and weeks no more would be coming in.

Around 1st February the Celts had another party, Imbolc, pronounced Ee-molk (you want English pronunciation to make sense?), and that party again implies considerable confidence in their own survival abilities, but it's not related to a generally recognised solar event and doesn't occur at a particularly neat division of the year. And meteorologists say 1st March is the first day of spring, but only on 20 March will we reach the spring equinox, so before we introduce any more confusion, can we please agree to celebrate every single day?

And to be deep, not shallow, to be crisp, not stale, and most of all, to be even.