goodbye 2011

Perhaps inspired by the elegant decomposition surrounding Miss Havisham at Satis Hall, perhaps by the fragility of a searing headache, perhaps by the almost imperceptible slipping away of another twelve months, I have put together a mosaic of some of this year's Flickr favourites with a slightly ethereal, other-worldly feel...

There is nothing remarkable about these days... the weather is damp, the hours of daylight are short, the house is quiet. Books are being read, photo archives are being sorted out, words are being written down, turkey is being slowly eaten up. I am grateful for this time, which was badly needed.

I feel I have completed 2011 now*, and I am ready for 2012 which is going to be my year of being kind to myself... whatever that means... we will find out... I like adventures.

*See Megan's post for more about this:

With thanks to my Flickr contacts for these beautiful images:1. waiting for you, 2. 095, 3. Feather collection, 4. DETERMINATION, 5. Untitled, 6. Untitled, 7. january0211_1, 8. Voewood heart, 9. Pine Cones

the darkest day

Sometime tonight, just before tomorrow arrives, the sun will appear to stop in its tracks, and we in the northern hemisphere will experience the darkest, bleakest hours of winter before the earth begins to slowly turn again towards the light and the sun starts its journey southwards.

Solstice means ‘stand still’ and this is exactly what I feel compelled to do at this time of year: to be quiet and still, and think about all that has happened in the six months since the warmth and light of the summer solstice, and about all that might happen before we reach that time again next year.

For me, this time of thinking and being still has much more resonance than the fizz and pop of New Year’s Eve, which seems more like a sparkling finale to the Christmas festivities and a launch pad for the fresh new start which, by then, we all crave.

In these few days of calm, I find myself reflecting on all I have done and seen and felt since the summer. It has been a very mixed time for me this year and there has been a lot of worry and distraction. Creativity and positive energy has been scarce.

But just as the passing of the seasons brings continual renewal, there is the chance to stop and change direction, and this is my hope and intent for the next turn of the wheel. I have read much this year about caring for oneself, loving oneself, being kind to oneself. What if I set out to have as much fun as possible, to enjoy myself? What if I shed the skin of anxiety and worry, the sense of being under judgement, of needing to earn rest and peace and happiness? What if I chose to play more?

I expect lots of you – if you have managed to read this far – are rolling your eyes at this. It probably seems obvious. But I think freedom can be a difficult concept to accept. The prison gate is open, but we are afraid to leave.

Tonight and tomorrow I will light up the house with as many candles and fairy lights as we can find, the fire will burn brightly and we will have a few drinks to bring warmth and light to our bones. Lightness and brightness to lead us out of the darkness and into life.