The kitchen is warm and cosy on this dull day. On the windowsill, nestling within a plant pot, a jewel lies. Nurtured by my mother, the first crocuses of this new year have emerged from their long sleep. Almost iridescent against the grey of winter, the purple shines out, a beacon of promise.
A bitter north wind blows around the house. Banging at windows and doors as though to seek entry. The fire in the hearth fights back defiantly, spitting up the chimney. I sit barricaded against the cold, quilt thrown over me. Hands occupied with stitching, the picture slowly forms.
A sunflower for a friend, cheery colours in the winter dusk. My mind wanders back to the summer. Sunflowers nodding their heads in the garden. Planted as part of Good Friday meditations, they took until late August to come into bloom. A period of waiting, of expectation. Of watering, care, nurture. Finally the buds were seen. They slowly opened out, blossoming in the heat. Following the sun with their faces.
Hands occupied with stitching, the picture slowly forms. Seeds planted. I wait for the coming of spring, for the blossoming. For the harvest.
‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope, and a future.’ Jeremiah 29:11
The alder cones dangle
Empty from the branch
Promise of new life to come
And so we wait
As we celebrate
Of the first promise
For the second coming
For the new dawn
For the future
For the alder to blossom
And bear fruit
In due season.
For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
The rain makes mirrors of the pavements, reflecting the light. The sun prepares to descend in this winter world, readying himself for the new dawn. A double rainbow curves overhead, full of rich promises. Christmas Eve waits in hushed anticipation, sparkling into the night.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14
Merry Christmas! Nadolig Llawen! God Jul! Buon Natale! Frohliche Weihnacthen! Prettige Kerstmis! Crăciun fericit! I’m sure you get the message. Have a wonderful and blessed time.
High tide and gales last night. Doors and windows rattled, and the whole house shook with the power of the sea hitting the seawall. This morning the windows are coated with salt spray, blurring the edges of the world. Brilliant sunshine shines over the bay, highlighting the wave tops as they gallop shore-wards. We walk balanced on the edge of the wind. Even as we approach the strand, the tempest continues to whip the water, creating a bubbling mass. On the beach, a cappuccino has been washed up. Masses of coffee-coloured foam covers the sand. With the gusts, it rises and swells, jelly-like on the shore. I step in and sink into the softness, walking through a bubble bath. My boots disappear beneath the suds. Laughter peels across the beach, carried home on the breeze.
Stepping out into the winter sun. The otter has left his calling card on the boat ramp in the night. No sign of him this morning. The curlew hunts for food among the tumbled seaweed, while the heron stands on watch, waiting for the incoming tide. The low light of the shortest day reflects off the rock-pools, and the seagulls creel their song.
Face peeping out on the world, the only part exposed to the elements. Yesterday’s sun is replaced by cold and damp. Rain and sleet hurled on a northerly wind. The tide roars in, splashing over onto the road. A mad dash to the post office through a grey world. The gutters pour with water, and the puddles are ringed with raindrops. Then, task complete, blown back along the pavement to the warmth of home. A gradual defrosting of limbs on the radiator. A mug of tea. The Christmas tree stands, waiting impatiently. Slowly the decorations are unpacked, each one with a story to be told. Rainbow colours of memory sparkle amidst the green, a bright spot in the day.
For a Christmas Tree Blessing, see this link: http://faithinthehome.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/christmas-tree-blessing/
Candles welcome the dawn today. Music rings in my mind. Spices mix with scent of sea breeze. Cinnamon rolls for breakfast, warm from the oven. Lucia is welcomed in with the light. Winter sun plays across the bay, highlighting headlands and crofts. The tide rolls in with a playful splash, before receding into the day. Out for a stroll, cold air nipping at my fingers and toes. A pause to watch the world pass by. A playful dog brings me a stick to throw, splashing through the iced water. Laughter joined, its owner summons it back. Then home to toast myself by the fire, mulled wine in hand. Flames flickering, echoing the morning’s light. Happy Lucia!
For more information on St Lucia or Lucy, please see my other blog www.faithinthehome.wordpress.com
Santa Lucia song : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2-Q_ObdE-4
Perched on a barnacle-covered rock, I gaze out at the view. Sun slowly sinking into the sea, leaving behind hints of gold and silver rolling on the waves. Cloud studded sky with bright blue behind, reflected in the pools.
There are days I wonder when I will wake up from the dream. When I will suddenly find myself back in my old life, with myriad things to do, endless lists…. the hamster on its wheel! It is difficult not to look back on then, and think ‘I would be (should be) doing ‘ … or ‘who did they get to climb the ladder and decorate the top of the 20 foot Christmas tree this year?’ Life was extremely busy – but also fun, when I had time to think about it. I am trying not to look back too much, to what was – and what is, without me. I am enjoying the present moment. Don’t get me wrong. Life here is certainly not perfect! With three radically different personalities living in one household, two of whom are my parents, that would be extremely unlikely. After 20 years of living apart, we are all used to our own space, to the rhythm of our own lives. Adapting to each other is interesting at times. Yet this is now and I am here. Despite the inevitable tensions, there is a lingering peace in my heart and soul. The still voice that says – this is right. This is now. Enjoy. The secret bubble that lies within.
After a while, the barnacles become uncomfortable. The sun sinks deeper, dazzling my eyes. The temperature starts to drop. I wend my way home along the shore, turning over seaweed. Calm reigns for now. Not head-spinning laughter, or despairing distress, but calm and quiet. Content. A good place to be.
Red sky at night, shepherds delight …. red sky at dawn, shepherds mourn. The dawn predicted the day. A glorious pink glow lighting the massing clouds. Wild, wet weather descends. Waves roll relentlessly towards the shore. A quick scurry to the shop, past fields sodden with rain. The wind gusts. Then home to the warm cosy fire to toast my toes. Hot spiced fruit juice to warm my hands. Advent candles counting down the days. The windowsill nativity grows apace – a new character for each day. Nimble fingers work at gifts, each stitch a prayer. The words of Isaiah ring through my mind: prepare the way of the Lord… a day for pondering, today.
A voice cries out: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Isaiah 40:3