It may seem counter intuitive to many people, but the Yuletide season is one where I deeply yearn retreat. I don’t want to be wildly social. I want to burrow in and read, write, dream, and eat lovely food. The hibernation instinct turns out to be a clever strategy while Omicron is rampaging around the island of Ireland. I promised myself a full Twelve Days of Christmas of down time, but I was itching to get back to the blog.
What I have been doing during my winter’s hibernation is observing the Omen Days with writing a haiku or poem each morning and some meditation time. I was really craving time to withdraw the way some people jones for mince pies. I have kept the profile low for most of these Omen Days. In the background, friends and family have had illness to contend with, or a bereavement, but also the jubiliation with the birth of a new grandbaby.
Uncertainty, sorrow, joy. All of these have played a part of the Twelve Days of Christmas that make up the Omen Days this Yule season. Each is a thread pulling through each and every year. Amidst so much change, these three are constant themes – uncertainty, sorrow, joy.
I have lit many candles and silently sent out many wishes, prayers and intentions during this time of quiet. This is how I fill the well and replenish myself.
The poem I will kick off 2022 on the blog was written on St. Stephen’s Day. I read it on John Wilmott’s Nature Folklore You Tube channel that very afternoon. Day One of the Omen Days there was my Hibernation celebration. No need for first footing, wassailing or any thing other than quiet and a feeling of deep, restful peace.
Hibernation Some mornings in winter the stillness covers you right up to your chin, a comforter, a weighted blanket tucking up in, persuading you to stay. There is nothing to do or be or review, Just moments ticking, nothing to foresee. Some mornings in winter when dawn is dusky and long a key turns in memory and your warm bed allows your head to entertain old stories, not od demons or dangers, but softer imaginings - legions of friends who love and know how to play - nicely - as your mother would say, and it's safe in this stillness, that memory of snow, piled blankets, the warmth of winter's sleep.
The featured photo today is of our rescue dog who arrived this day eleven years ago to his forever home. He can teach me a lot about the value of hibernating.
Also, my parents were married this day seventy-five years ago, too.
The sun is shining and it is very cold for the first time this winter.
It felt like the time to break out a little from my self-imposed hibernation had come.
My word of the Year for 2022 is Joy. I wish you an yours much joy this New Year.