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Showing posts from December, 2016

old fashioned weather

This December has been gentle, a little cold. And that has felt like a gift to me, for I've been able to go on wearing cardigans and socks a while longer. I've had moments, riding my bike through the neighbourhood where lawns are still green and sprinkled with pink, with gold, of feeling really quite content. After years of bruising heat, this at last is what an early summer should be like. It is the mellowing of the old year.

I know it's just a respite. I know the climate will go on warming. But I am glad for this little peaceful comfort before the long sweltering battle ahead. 

Now, I don't normally blog these days about my personal life, but I do have one anecdote which I believe is too sweet not to share ... My brother lives far away, and he sent me a gift through the mail which my mother assured me was "just my style." When I opened it on Christmas Day, I was astonished.

A few months ago, I'd bought a Royal Doulton vintage tea cup from my local char…

in requiem

I can not list all their names, I can only look up into the pale morning sky and know there are extra stars out there somewhere - bright stars, broken lights, all the famous people who have passed on this year, and the quiet everyday people about whom no one knew to write a headline. I was talking about it with a younger person today, about how this year brought so much grief to our culture, and I said maybe it's because the people of my generation and the one before were so bloody awesome, they did so many awesome things, they had courage and beauty and wild voices that they were willing to share with us all.

Or maybe it's because the 70s and 80s were years of magic ... goblin kings and purple rain and rabbit prophets and fabulous star princesses and sad minstrels who had turned their hearts to thorns ... and we grieve now to see its loss so starkly. We are not only mourning people, but a way of being in the world. A poetic, cock-eyed, deep-down, gloriously honest way. We loo…

the christmas spirit

I saw him anew, a day too late : an old and gentle man walking the wild secret ways, with a buck at his side to carry him when he needs carrying, when his back begins to hurt or the time seems to be running out - a buck with eyes like whatever lies beyond the moon, and a pelt the texture of shyness.

I saw him lugging love around the world. And his sack is not full of gifts, for as we know the parents provide those. His sack is full of stars. Tiny soft silvery stars which he places in the sleeping eyes and the open hearts of people everywhere. The stars are wishing, hoping, loving, joyousness. They are what make peace.

He is the dream beneath a hundred legends. I may not believe in Santa Claus, but I can easily and certainly believe in him.

The illustration is by Jan Pashley. Click on her name to visit her website and view more of her beautiful, endearing Christmas artwork. I hope your Christmas was everything you needed it to be.

sacred days

It is quiet here now, this Christmas evening. I think of all the people who celebrated with joy, and all the people who struggled. It's a shame we make this day so weighty. I hope where ever you are in the world, and whatever your situation, you experience peace and love, not only at Christmas but all the everydays, which are sacred too. 

I wish I could gift gentleness to the world. Roses and soft rain. Courage and grace. A calm hope for our future and the future of nature. I see so many people bringing such things quietly, where they can, with whatever work or wisdom they have to offer, and I think maybe, maybe, we will go well after all.

For millennia, people have paused just when it looked darkest
to celebrate silence and to have faith in the return of light.
Peace to all.
Eric Garland


Solstice blessings to you all. The sun went down in gentle red-gold last night, and the sky turned green. I wondered if I was looking not at the sky but a glimpse of faery meadows. That's how thin the veil was - but luckily I didn't hear the bells. I've heard them before, and felt the thrill, like thorns against the heart, of real magic.

This has been a difficult year for the world. It was certainly a challenging year for me, and I didn't get much done, but I took care of myself, and rested a lot, and I think that was just as important as activity. I don't know what next year will bring for us all, the news is so bad day after day - but still the voices of love, peace, and resistance to evil, are speaking up, and that keeps me from endless weeping.

I usually do a weblog retrospective around Solstice or the new year, but this time it's a little different as I moved sites, and I didn't post as much as I normally do, and I also sent out some e-letters for a wh…


This week, for the first time in almost forty years, I went camping. And, as is usual with adventures, I learned a lot. For example, I learned that, when the bank loses money you were relying upon, and the camping lodge refuses your booking, and the hills are far steeper than you remember, and the only place to pitch your tent is sloped - well, at such moments, the whole world and all its concerns slip away, and you find yourself standing on inner ground.

I was surprised at the state of mine. I believed the trials I've gone through these past couple of years had broken it into an archipelago of doubts, fragilities, brave mountains, wild shores. But I learned too that I have a little Lookfarof my own. And bridges I never appreciated before.

I think often about the kind of place I want to live, the kind of environment I want surrounding me. I dream of more trees, more quiet, fewer neighbours, a diversity of birds. Truth is, though, there is no more important environment for a woman …

the memory of the earth which sustains and buries bones

I grew up with fortune tellers peering at tea leaves and shuffling tarot cards. I became a fortune teller myself. Luckily, I also grew up with big old trees hemmed with moss, knee-deep in black fecund earth, and with the smiles and whispers of unseen People living amongst them. So when I decided just recently that tea leaves and tarot cards were an interrogation of the universe, rather than a conversation, and that I wanted something different for myself, I knew where I needed to go. To the glade, to the meadow, out amongst the gauze-winged and double-kneed spirits.

Yesterday I wrote about old Christmas traditions and how difficult it was to reconcile my southern culture with the northern one I had been taught by my elders, who still considered England home, although their families had emigrated more than a century before. And then I learned this morning that the universe had not finished its conversation with me on the topic. It sent me questions, gentle, unflinching from the deeper…

old bone memory

On the translucent evenings this time of year, I look south and dream of Christmases past. I've never lived south, but I'm not talking about geographical direction - rather, about something in the sky, the air between here and somewhere. Southward, nostalgia lies. At least for me.

Maybe it's a small white creature tucked within a pine-scented shadow's curve, a thing of delicately sharp teeth and soft fur, a thing for which we have no name because we believe all emotional experiences derive from our own minds, instead of from the worlds around us - the interior galaxies of trees, the secret dragons, the slip-sliding yunggamurras of rivers, the glimpsed tails we think are windswept clouds.

If I was to describe my nostalgia for advent, I would speak of the ways in which, as a child, I always sought winter glimmer in our summer hours. So - pale horizons, the drift of light against dark tree trunks, the scent of fresh pine, tinsel sparkling like icicles, the lingering chill…

on the other side of stories

I said before that stories are our greatest medicine, by which I meant written stories, sung stories, stories painted or drawn or stitched with thread through hessian. But I should have said deeper. Stories try to fill the space between us and others - people, nature. The heart of the medicine is the other itself.

We are most healed when we hear the person we have not heard, when we help the flower to grow, when we lay our hands inside the dirt and smell the pine needles.