10th December 2012.
I decorated Log Cabin today and lit a fire. Reclining in my battered arm chair, with Merlin purring contentedly, I watched salamanders dancing in the flames. After a heart warming bowl of spiced parsnip soup, I fastened my duffel coat, pushed a crocheted hat over my uncombed hair and headed outside, intending to visit Winter Wonderland festival in a city to the North.
I’d walked a little of the way, pausing to pick some pine cones when my ears became alert to the distinctive snap of a branch and I looked up, seeing a herd of deer scatter beyond a glade of trees. I peered, though they were quickly camouflaged and swallowed up by the forest. I walked further and spotted some mistletoe, I picked some sprigs intended for a table decoration, heading with purpose to a secret grove I was sure would offer up some red berried holly.
A flock of swans flew overhead, and I watched the regular undulation of their wings. I turned quickly, startled by a man's face imprinted on bark. When I looked back, it had gone. Scotch mist, perhaps? However the image pricked my attention and I wondered whether it could be Father Time making an appearance. Day light fading fast, I drew my scarf around my neck, discarding the idea of a city adventure, and set myself a task to research festive mythology.
The earliest record of Father Christmas appeared during ancient British mid-winter festivals. He was a general pagan figure who represented the coming of spring. He would wear a long, green hooded cloak and a wreath of holly, ivy or mistletoe. It is the association with holly and mistletoe, and his ability to lift people's spirits, that we retain from this ancient Father Christmas. When Britain fell under Saxon rule in the fifth and sixth centuries AD, Father Christmas took on the characteristics of the Saxon Father Time, also known as King Frost or King Winter. Someone would dress up as King Winter and be welcomed into homes, where he would sit near the fire and be given something to eat and drink. It was thought that by being kind to King Winter, the people would get something good in return: a milder winter. Thus Father Christmas became associated with receiving good things.
I was asked recently by a friend what my three Christmas wishes would be? I replied, that I would like to see my fantasy novel, “Do dragonflies lose their colour when they die?” in print. I’d like ONE person somewhere in the world, to read my book and for it to change at least ONE person’s life.
What does this holiday Season mean to you? I’m referring to what brings you lasting contentment, and also what you might do to re-create that feeling.
I finished dressing a yew log I’d carried from the forest, and prepared cards with dates which I fixed with ribbon along its branches. This is my wishing tree, and for each day, I read and meditate over each of the blessings I’ve recorded which includes; living in a beautiful environment surrounded by nature, the gifts of the forest, local rambling trails, heart warming food, books which I possess, friends and acquaintances, laughter, the ever changing palette of seasonal colours and the riches beyond measure - my health, an enquiring mind and spiritual abundance.
I raise a glass of mulled wine to you, dear reader and wish you every happiness this holiday Season. Find LOVE in every step you take, venture outside where possible and remember that whatever life seems to cast in your direction, always hold your head high, for you will be blessed with rainbows.