The twilight of the year, is a traditionally reflective time.
Christmas is over- the festivities meaning for me a mid-winter celebration- a feast, a party to inject joy. A time to bring people together to eat, drink and be merry in the depths of dark, stark days. A chance to cook up and clear the store cupboards of nuts, fruits and preserves-creating space for filling again throughout the coming year, as new life is sown for the birth of spring up ahead.
For me, the beauty in these early sunsets is how they herald an earlier end to my day in the Winter months, sending me burrowing indoors at the Rabbit Hole, to bake tomorrows bread, paint, write and basically hibernate a bit just like Granny Elsie used to do, until the Spring starts springing...
It's easy to do that here on the West-Wight- to go with the flow of the seasons and natures directive.
It suits me very well Em, I like my now five year old routine of rising at 6.30, and going to bed reasonably early too. It makes me feel good, and it somehow makes everything seem easier to do.
Here under beautiful 'Wight-Light' present unless it's the most foggy of days, when the light is dimmed down over sunset and then switched off- it makes it simple to switch-off too.
Unwinding each evening for a good two hours- writing, reflecting upon the day, and making lists (I won't look at, but help me empty my brain onto paper) seems akin to me to metaphorically put back all of the books I've taken off the shelves in my mind each day, and to put them back in some order.
And so, on New Year's Eve, there's a tradition to do a big reflect on a year's worth of events- big 'books' of the mind, heavy to put back on a shelf, and to decide quite which section to put it in.
Right now, many on the face of things seem simply dreadful- the illness and passing of Grumpa, whom I dearly miss.
To continue the death-thing, there was so much of it this year, luminaries dear, such as David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and Alan Rickman, and too many more, along-side all those we did not know caught up in terrible wars, terrorist attacks, accidents and illnesses.
And, other tumultuous events exploded- a referendum to the populace to answer a simple question- yes, or no to being in the European Union- without any ideas of what that might entail, gave a government a 'poisoned chalice' to negotiate uncertainly for the foreseeable future.
Then, a neanderthal narcissistic bigot became head of a world super-power, who seemed to want to be best-buddies with another already heading up another big chunk of the land we call earth.
The stuff of an apocalyptic sic-fi novel Em? No- at the end of 2016, the world spins on some axis, but uncertainty is the only true power it seems.
But, dearest Em, to take the dystopian sic-fi paperback and throw it in the bin, and begin 2017 with a Gaiman-like fairy tale view-point:-
Uncertainty is an allie.
Uncertainty is a reality that holds all of the vital- life-affirming ingredients of the bread we bake each day of our earthly lives.
Hope, faith, optimism, honesty, reflection, morality, compassion, debate- all these emote and question borne up out of uncertainty.
These are all very 'alive' qualities. Each of us, touched by uncertainty, sadness, shock at world events, hold a key that unlocks the secret door to examine our own individual stand-point in the changing landscape around us.
And, I'm certainly hopeful, that these experiences, if we allow our own uncomfortable truths to surface and be examined, can bring out the best in our questioning and beautiful selves.
We can, awaken and re-kindle compassion daily, explore our own moral- compasses, draw upon our own individual strengths and weaknesses, and see in sharper-focus our own personal humanity.
And, in doing so, we can become an army of souls, dead and alive who share just what really matters to those being humans, alive and vital on this earth today.
However the pivotal events of 2016 play out in the future history books, our own truth today, can be the current 'awakening' of our individual souls to be Master to our depths of reasoning and core-values.
The common-good can be a core of our own individual 'Fairy-Tale'.
Yet, whilst, and if, we do some personal navel-gazing, be certain dear Em, of one thing.
Nature just keeps-on, keeping on.
Night, follows day. Winter is followed by Spring, and there is new growth.
The new growth flourishes, later in the cycle of the year to fade and die-back.
Then, to be re-born.
'Twas ever-thus, Emily, what-so-ever we humans were being busy about!
That, at least, is our certainty.
Deep, and yet, deeper.
I, on the other hand apart from some bouts of navel-gazing, intend to resolve for myself a challenge of not buying any new clothes (or old clothes from the chazzers hereabouts) a fun foray into mending and making as needs or fancy-be.
I'm going to set about Camper-Vanning my little 'Mobile Bookshop' to Fetes, Fairs and Festy's.
Life, and Lipstick dearest Emily.
May the force be with you, and Bel and Flo,
Your ever-loving Grandmother,