It’s the 21st December tomorrow and the end of the world as some would have us believe. I don’t mind admitting that I’ll be waking up on Saturday morning with a certain sense of relief but it has nothing to do with the Mayan calendar. Friday is also the shortest day of the year and even though the worst of winter is still ahead of us, there’s something reassuring about knowing that the days are beginning to stretch out again.
I have a north facing garden and come October, the shadow cast from my house begins crawling down the length of the lawn, creeping up the back fence and within weeks, the whole garden is plunged into shade. But after tomorrow, that shadow will start to withdraw and by March, the sun will finally hit the ground at the bottom of the garden and spring and summer will be within reach.
My obsession with the seasons has managed to transfer itself onto the page and it’s only as I’m writing this blog that I’ve begun to realise how much. In Yesterday’s Sun, when Holly is propelled forward in time, the first thing she notices is the change in her surroundings but because she’s always in the same place, in front of the moondial in the middle of her garden, that change is in the environment. In one scene she’s transported from a garden bearing autumn fruits to one shimmering in the night with springtime blossom and then in another scene she moves from a balmy summer’s night to a wintry snowstorm. In Another Way to Fall the focus on the seasons is more pronounced. We meet Emma in late autumn but she, like me, is longing to see the spring. She wants to see the trees explode into bloom because she interprets this as nature’s demonstration of survival. So she too would be looking forward to getting past the shortest day of the year.
So why do I focus so much on the transitions from one season to another? I suppose it has something to do with the sense of constancy it brings to an otherwise unpredictable world. I can agree with the doomsters on one fact, none of us can take tomorrow for granted. Neither can we cling onto the good times forever or stop dark times descending without warning but we can draw some comfort in knowing that there’ll be a few minutes extra daylight on 22nd December and a little more light each following day for the next six months. So despite the unpredictability, I for one am planning on hanging around and hope you’ll join me in a collective sigh of relief on Saturday if only long enough to prepare for the chaos that Christmas brings.
Merry Christmas everyone 🙂