Monday, 21 December 2015

Winter Solstice

A winter's Solstice walk:
At dusk in the gathering gloam of the longest night of the year
Although no crisp cold to celebrate the season
And the unseasonable mild is mildly disturbing.

I follow badgers' well-worn ways around the hill
But my unclawed feet slip and slide in the soft muddy slopes
Until near the summit I glance up at the misty moon, fat but not yet full,
Appearing between the pines darkly silhouetted against the night sky.
At the top of the hill the air is fresh, cool if not cold,
And the sounds of twinkling town are drowned
By the chattering of a clattering of jackdaws, unseen in the darkness.

Down the hill into an ancient holloway,
Old even when England was young,
It's fern-lined banks cast furtive shadows,
Twisting and turning in the torchlight,
Evoking ghosts of travellers past,
Until I spill out into the orange sodium glow of the present.

Turning left, against the flow of time,
Saluting silent sentinels of churchyard yews
To an old chapel; a stone sanctuary.
Sitting in stillness
Delighting in darkness
Imagining the coldness of winter -
Savouring the solstice.
Before hurrying home to light a fire
And toast the re-cycling of the seasons.

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