There are things you can’t tell other people – or only just a few people, perhaps: that you love the time of year when nights are long. That you long for the moment, at around four o’clock, when you watch the horizon drink the last drop of pale daylight and the evening star appear, burning bright against the darkness, like a diamond, breathing sparks of white fire – though if you stare long enough, you can make out blues and greens and reds and yellows.
It’s the moment when I switch on fairy lights in the bowl of pine cones and light candles on my table, but keep lamps low to honour the darkness.
There are things you can’t tell other people – or just a few people, perhaps: that you embrace this darkness. Because they brand as evil all that they do not know, and they have soiled this darkness – rich in possibilities – with their murkiness.
The darkness of winter evenings is the screen on which I project the colours of my imagination, the soil where I bury the seeds I know will sprout in the new year and blossom in the sunlight. It’s the darkness that makes the world outside my window invisible to screen me from distraction, then whispers It’s time to look within and draws my attention to the candle on my table and the fairy lights giving the pine cones in the bowl a blush of green, yellow, pink, red and green. The candle tells me It’s time to draw up plans, time to weave spells because this is the season of magic and miracles, the season of gifts expected and unexpected, the season for casting wishes and forming intentions.
There are things you can’t tell other people – or just a few people, perhaps: that for you this is not the season of barrenness, but of wonders you see with your secret eye.
There are things you can’t tell other people – or just a few people, perhaps: that for you, the red-clad, paunchy Santa Claus with vacant blue eyes, a jovial laugh and the pedestrian “Ho–ho-ho” is a usurper and you repudiate all that he stands for.
Instead, give me my Sir Christëmas, a cousin of Merlin. Sir Christëmas, lean and tall in his cloak that has shades of green, brown, scarlet and gold, leather boots that can sprout silver roots to rival those of an oak. Sir Christëmas, whose sparkling eyes are green, brown and ochre with a ring of blue. The shapeshifter – the red fox whose amber eyes look up at my window from the street, the green-eyed tabby cat blinking at me from the neighbour’s wall, or the grey-eyed jackdaw watching me from the roof across the street. He is the joker laughing heartily as he blows gales through the gaps in the window frames and the friend who leaves a perfect cone for me under the canopy of a five-hundred-year-old cedar when I feel low, or throws in my path a piece of especially glossy flint that catches the candlelight as I turn it in my hand while I write.
There are things you can’t tell other people – or just a few people, perhaps.