It is exactly 8.13am on the 21st December. And so it is The Winter Solstice, the shortest day, lionised longer than Christmas Day. Christmas has stolen its place, replacing merriment with a commercial abundance of toys and cards and who knows what else they try to sell us.
Don’t get me wrong, this period is to be observed with pleasure as we need to find joy here in the darkest period of the year when 16 hour nights outstrip eight hour days. It has always been a time when people got together to share what they had accumulated for a feast when things don’t grow outside and to laugh and be positive and warm themselves with feasts and dancing before the sun finally warms the world in four months time.
With Global Warming, Brexit, Trump and Putin, to say nothing of Syria and all the rest afflicting our minds, we must find distractions and be human together. It is why Muslims, Buddhists, Communists and everyone else mark the New Year, this urge reaches beyond religion to a place of common humanity. A tiny moment when we were once awed by nature and the passage of time.
Right this minute upon Salisbury Plain, arms linked in a human garland around Stonehenge, Druids, Pagans and people who wish to watch the sun rise are delighted to have made the effort. Whatever their beliefs they put up with pounding rain and high winds because their hearts are fortified. My wife’s cousin is there with a donkey’s head shoved over his own, why a donkey I have no idea, but it gives him pleasure. And at 8am, I too got pleasure from standing at the top of our garden swinging my arms and watching the rain sweep across the wide valley before our village. For a moment, the sky lightened to the east and even turned the clouds pink, but it was gone in less than a minute.
This Mid Winter ritual, however we perform it - around a table laden with food or upon a lonely moor, helps us mark the passage of time and doing so together bonds us. Today, on this the 21st of December, make a vow to ensure that future generations will be able to celebrate the Solstice without continually hiding from raging hurricanes, rising seas and nothing but memories of glaciers and ice caps and jungles. Let’s stand together and work towards halting this dire prospect by changing the way we live.
Our political leaders are not interested in such important matters, all they care about is themselves. It is up to us to STOP Global Warming.