Just before I picked up my pen to write to you for winter solstice, I opened an envelope that had just arrived through the mail. Neatly folded inside the letter, I discovered two little sprigs of wild thyme.
Lost on the limestone
I inhaled the tangy scent and was suddenly tumbled back to the late sixties, when I was living in Paris. It was Easter, I was three months pregnant and we'd taken a train to the south of France for a holiday. Now we were wandering on a high limestone plateau known as the Calanques, searching for the Youth Hostel that would be our haven for the night.
Darkness was falling rapidly, the moon sailed high, and we were lost. I sat down on a rock to relieve the weight of the back-pack and rest my weary legs. That's when I was surprised by an unusual fragrance, penetrating the air: wild thyme, more pungent than anything my kitchen had known. It was everywhere, growing out of every crevice.
An injection of courage
Have you ever found that the smallest, most unexpected thing can charge you with courage when you are floundering? That's what the wild thyme did for me.
My friend is having medical treatment that requires her to draw on courage every day. Her gift reminded me of how connecting with my senses, beauty and wonder allowed me to refresh my brain, make sense of the map, agree on a route with my partner and find the way to the welcoming lights of the hostel.
Finding life in the dead of winter
At winter solstice on June 22 the sun's light will return. But how can you feel it when the days grow more chilly from now on? In winter, sensory awareness tends to contract. Autumn brings glorious richness and spring sweet fragrance, but winter sometimes seems like a bundle of dry sticks or soggy dead leaves.
Dear blog readers, you've seen less of me here because I've been busy writing my Seasons Newsletter, which I now post on my website as a blog. Today I had the bright idea of copying the newsletter into my seasonal inspiration blog, hoping that you will enjoy it too.
You can read and post on my website blogs by clicking this link. (Scroll down to see earlier posts)
I'm also teaching online courses now, and this is keeping me busy. Below is a sample of what I'm doing:
The 'Winter Attunement' on June 23 is an opportunity for you to tune in — not just to the depths of winter, but to your own self. In the online meditation you will be guided to connect with the source of nourishment and wonder within. Following this there will be the time for drawing or writing so that you can express what you discovered.
My friend did the first winter attunement in 2014. She told me that the image she drew sustained her for months afterwards. Others reported feeling 'very relaxed, centred and nourished', and having something 'shift and ease inside'.
I'm hoping to keep this blog going as well. I value the connections we have built with one another, and enjoy posting more personal material here. I just need to find a way of juggling the balls! Meanwhile, happy winter solstice to my friends in the south, and summer solstice to my friends in the north.
In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.