Window No. 22

In the northern hemisphere today is the Winter Solstice, also known as Yule or Yuletide. In the run up to Christmas with all it's nods to the Christian faith, it's easy to forget that Yule is a pagan festival.

My father came from a mixed background faith-wise. His mother was a devout episcopalian Christian, having been an instrumental part of a congregation of followers who built their own church. She held her faith dear to her heart. My grandfather had a more casual link to the church, adhering to it simply because the community he was part of required him to. He joined his wife's church to please her but he was much closer to the land, to nature and to the pagan ways.

My father had much the same attitude as his father to the church, while my mother saw attending services, having her child, me, christened, and being wed in church as the right and proper thing to do. Where my father would see Christmas Eve as a time for family to spend some quiet time together, my mother would nag him to take her to the midnight church service.

Even in the depths of winter, my father would be found in the garden, not necessarily to tend to the plants but sometimes just to spend some thoughtful time there. He found a peaceful contentment in watching the changes of the season.

At this time of year, when nature seems to recede and pause, I take the day to do the same. On the winter solstice, I put aside Christmas shopping and preparation, and take a moment to just be.

All the best for a peaceful winter solstice.


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