The treble has sung. Christmas has begun.
Once in Royal David’s city…
A voice like gold shimmering in the firelight.
The light is draining from the sky. The sun has withdrawn without pomp. This is not an evening for lavish displays. The night must cast its cloak over the horizon soon, so that the magic may take place.
There is haste in the beating of birds’ wings as they dart to take shelter on tree branches or huddle on roof tiles. Not a needle is stirring on the pine trees outside the house. Even the wind is holding its breath.
It is the moment after your eyes have stopped making out forms distinctly and before your ears are fully tuned. The moment when another, unnamed sense tells you that, in this stillness, everything is breathing, quivering, spinning, singing in a close harmony of colours and textures.
This sense halfway between sight and hearing tells me that the conkers I planted into a pot of compost a couple of months ago are starting to wriggle in the moist, dark earth, the embryonic horse chestnut trees inside them ready to crack open the hard skin and sprout roots. It assures me that the acorns in another pot are also growing impatient to push forth and surface to the light. And that the slender rowan tree saplings secured to bamboo sticks dream of yielding berries and inspiring poets.
I walk out onto the balcony and the chilly stillness wraps around me softly. What are you doing outdoors? its embrace seems to say. Go back inside.
I lean over the railing and let my eyes wander across the wide expanse of thickening greyness. In the distance, a spot of yellow light pierces through the mist. It’s a window under a gable.
In this stillness so rich in presences, there is a feeling of protection and the quiet certainty that the approaching darkness is filled with happenings. With a heightened activity of entities and creatures outside the field of our perception.
Down below, I see something slinking across the driveway, slowly, gracefully. It’s a black cat. It stops, sits. It is now too dark for me to distinguish the details of its muzzle, but I can make out its yellow eyes, inquisitive and judging, boring into mine. Eyes that can see what mine cannot. What are you doing outdoors? they seem to say.
A gust of wind ruffles the tops of the balcony plants and I feel its cold breath on the back of my neck. Time to go inside, it whispers.
I turn and tiptoe back into the flat. I don’t know why I tiptoe, only that I suddenly feel like an intruder on my own balcony. I close the French windows and keep staring at the horizon that is gradually melting into a sea of purple-grey.
I try to hold onto my sense between sight and hearing for a little longer. I know it’s the key to accessing a world I yearn to enter. A world the cat with yellow eyes can drift into and out of at will. A world we humans relegated to illustrated books and childish imagination centuries ago. But my precious sense is undeveloped, untrained, so my commands have no authority over it.
I leave my study, go to the living room and plug in the Christmas tree lights. The reflection of a hundred gold-yellow eyes appears in the window pane. I approach it to pull the blind down and catch sight of two pellets of similarly gold-yellow light three floors down, at the foot of the maple tree outside our apartment block. The black cat has slinked around the building and is looking up at me. Keep practising, it seems to say. It’s certainly a world worth seeing.
A happy, magical Christmas to all.
This was a special surprise Katia, you really conjure up a possible world that I believe Indigenous people enjoy. The industrial revolution has led us sadly astray. How can we find our way back? That is the question. Love to you both, Peter and Teresa
Sent from Outlook for iOShttps://aka.ms/o0ukef ________________________________
That’s so kind of you. I don’t know how we find our way back, but I’m sure imagination helps.
Solstice then Christmas. It is a magical time.
That was certainly “magical!” Enjoy your wonderful Christmas with all its magic, Katia. . .
Thank you! Happy Holidy and New Year to you, too.