I try to skip my eye from rosehip to holly berry to the herbs flowering valiantly against the grey. I try to accept the freshness of the wind and focus on the gaps between the rain. But perhaps I should just confess that I don't want the darkness to come. Some years the winter solstice is a cave I can crawl into; it is safety and solitude and snuggling warm with a cold nose. This year the darkening feels exhausting. Each week I am more tired and I fear it is because I need the sun. Maybe I need the sun's masculine strength, but that thought is a heavy one and doesn't help me. Maybe I am lonely inside all my many protective layers. That thought neither. Which is possibly why, in my work, I am creating sunshine :o).
This is Cherry Blossom, completed in time for The Chagford Winter Artisan Fayre, of which I am proud to be a part. It promises to be a day of warmth, levity and bright company - just exactly what I need.
And there is fun to be found even on a cold morning. Forest School is the highlight of our week. Here Emily regales us with a story of the wind and the sun while we glug hot chocolate and scoff snacks.
Later we made hogitats (hedgehog homes, for those not in the know). Pickle (whose Forest School name is Earthworm) and her lovely friend Rabbit made one together and it did look very inviting.
And we finally met Thomas's cousin, Naomi, and her dad, Bob. Pickle was impressed with Naomi's Hawkins-style communicator, but more so with Naomi's pirate boots. It was good to spend time together, although Chagford's windy lanes and unconventional shops narrowed the choice of venues. Here we are in The New Forge, Pickle clutching the bubbles set Naomi had given her.
I am not entirely in denial about the season. I have bought a fibre optic tree (don't tell Pickle - it's a surprise) and have made some of my work into seasonal cards which will be at our splendid Fayre and are also in my Etsy shop.
So, okay, although I have my Eeyore moments, I am actually quite excited about Christmas. I know it's cool to be aloof and moral about the consumerism and the excess, and for good reason, but I love finding things of happiness and knowing they're stashed away for my girl or for the other wonders who people my lucky life. For balance of sorts, I have been talking about the Philippines tornado. I told Pickle people from all over the world are sending money to help. She looked a bit sad and said, 'But I haven't got any money.' Then, much brighter, 'I can send them chocolate money for a present!' I am coming to believe that the thought really does count.