At the turning point of the earth, on the shortest day, when the sun is furthest away, I celebrate Winter Solstice thinking of a gradual return of light. Celebrating the Winter Solstice is marked by people all over the world, in their own beautiful, personal ways.
I go outdoors. I wanted to connect with the environment but nothing prepared me for how I responded to that connection.
I waited for sunrise in a white sky. It did not arrive, but I felt its energy opening me up to connect to something hugely greater than self.
As the dank air penetrated, without plan or thought, I stood on the edge of Stanage, opened my arms, closed my eyes and breathed in connecting with the landscape and something deep within myself. I rarely express my life’s energy with open arms. Today, I did.
Here I am in my favourite spot on Stanage edge. Standing on ancient rocks, facing the horizon, in the split second of raising my arms and closing my eyes, there it was – that one pure moment of inner freedom, letting go, connecting with living the dance of life.
It is an empowering action to accept life with open arms to allow my inner landscape to melt into the present moment. It is also slightly embarrassing but honest.
TS Eliot came to mind, written in Burnt Norton, one of the Four Quartets, he said it better than I ever could :-
At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity.
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement
from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
I can only say, there we have been : but I cannot say where.
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time…
I am reminded of the man who gave me these 4 Quartet booklets about 25 years ago. A wise man, a teacher, a friend, a patron, a good man who was previously the Provost of Derby Cathedral and retired as Vicar at Chatsworth where I also lived at that time. A man who swapped books with me. I gave him Jeanette Winterson, he gave me TS Eliot and William Morris books. We learned from each other. I often think of him when I am at the still point of the turning world. And, I am grateful.
Today, I returned to Stanage Edge, as I have done so many times over, to acknowledge my internal and external place in life. I return to the solid rocks again and again connecting to past and present, whilst thinking of future. These stones and rocks become an anchor to steady my heart.
A familiar sight holds me, grouse utter their sounds in the heather, a cow bellows, the wind is a gentle whisper.
It is the shortest day of the year – Winter Solstice and I am finally
Cold fingers and knees atop an edge of ancient stones.
Today, I wore my newly finished ‘New Year Beret’, which I started in Shetland and finished in Sheffield.
If you would like to look at the New Year Beret pattern, it is here.
I wish you a Happy Winter Solstice and I honestly want to say Happy Christmas and Good wishes for the New Year. I want to say thank you to every one of you who have joined me this last year in an online workshop and thank you to those who have bought a pattern from me. I’m truly grateful. Tracey, December 2021