Dark and Dank and New
Since returning from South Africa to live in England our family has struggled a little with long winter nights at end and beginning of the year.
In South Africa the Christmas Day meal is a gathering around a braai (preferably on the beach), New Year’s Day involves Cricket at Newlands in Cape Town and turkey is only referred to a strange British tradition.
Personally I am happy to be once again in East Anglia where the seasons have a regular rhythm of long winter nights balanced by summer evenings of extended twilight. It helps me feel a little bit smaller, knowing that I can’t plan the same routine every day. By the simple process of the world turning it tells me to find my place, which is always lower down the table than I think it should be J
In England new beginnings do not happen bathed in the sunshine of the longest day but instead it is in the dark days of a bleak midwinter, when we begin to gather our family closer against the woes of the weather and the world around us, that we start again. New Year is not a blaze of light, regardless of how spectacular the fireworks display along the banks of the River Thames may be, instead the new is born in the deepest darkness, in the coldest times, at the end of hope.
With Spring a long way away, New Year is the perfect mirror for Christmas, that other festival of hope in the middle of dark and dank circumstance, and each of us may feel, as all things are supposed to begin again, just a little bit smaller; something which, after festive excesses, just a few of us wish we were.
What would it take to decide to begin the New Year a little bit smaller?
Something that will grow well in the dark where no one else can see it?
Something that may seem selfish?
Getting enough sleep, taking a little more exercise, spending more time chatting to friends, becoming more ‘you’.
Then when winter thaws and Spring dawns, the seeds of new life, having been germinated in the darkness of the soil will blossom into lives bearing fruit for others.
Pax et Bonum – Andrew
This blog appeared as an article in the January 2019 edition of the Magazine of the Parish of Felixstowe, St John the Baptist with St Edmund, King & Martyr.
© Andrew Dotchin – September 2019