The journeys we take

For a number of reasons, my Christmas has been unfurling more slowly than ever this year. I am still writing Christmas cards both for myself and on behalf of my mother, who remains unwell.  Once upon a time this slowness would have stressed me greatly but, in recent years, I have acknowledged  that Christmas is as much about a journey/s as it is about an event or destination. That understanding of Christmas  means I feel  free to adopt a pace that is suitable for the purpose of the journeying.

And, in Christmas, there are several journeys. There is the obvious spiritual one which  takes a lifetime…I am guessing…and usually cannot be rushed. There is the journey  home, to the stable to be counted, to be accounted for and, sometimes, to account for. Then, there are the Magi travels of discovery and inquiry  and seeking  ( the perfect light 😉 ) and these can be life-long too.  Another  journey which,  perhaps, contains the essential truth of every voyage we undertake is ‘the flight into Egypt’; the journey where we leave behind the familiar and the known and step in to the new, the unknown, the unseen, where we may find safety and we may not.  Sometimes, we take this journey by choice, sometimes, it is by chance but, by chance or by choice, it is rarely a journey embarked upon lightly.

This Christmas, our home was blessed by the presence of voyagers; my brother and his wife and their two sons who came from Sydney to be with us. With both our families we counted for 7 at the s table. We rediscovered the pleasure of familial ties, and we parted, unsure of what the year ahead holds for each of us, yet certain that we have one another for the road as yet uncharted.

The Emigrant's DaughterGraham, Thomas Alexander Ferguson, 1840-1906. Graham, Thomas Alexander Ferguson, 1840-1906 :The emigrant's daughter. 1861. Ref: MNZ-0084-1/4. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22843811

The Emigrant’s Daughter Graham, Thomas Alexander Ferguson, 1840-1906. Graham, Thomas Alexander Ferguson, 1840-1906 :The emigrant’s daughter. 1861. Ref: MNZ-0084-1/4. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22843811

With my brother’s tribe came a foreign traveller, far, far from his birthplace; a small soapstone (  Kisii stone)  hippo; come from the fields of Kenya to settle with us on  the plains of Canterbury.

Welcome, little one, what a journey you and your makers are on. What a journey we are on.

© silkannthreades

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61 thoughts on “The journeys we take

  1. violetski

    It was really beautiful post Gallivanta!
    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and all the best for you on 2014.
    PS:
    Love that cuuuutttee hippo! 😃❤️
    xxxx

    Reply
  2. mmmarzipan

    Christmas is a journey indeed! Glad you got to spend time with your family from afar… and acquire a new family member in hippo form! I hope 2014 sees an improvement in your mothers health too. Best wishes, Marisa x

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Many thanks for your good wishes Marisa. Everyone, including my mother, is doing the best they can but it’s not easy to recover health in your nineties! However, she has looked after herself and had incredibly good health until now, so perhaps that good history will serve her well. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Clanmother

    Oh, Gallivanta! We are on a journey, with twists and turns, that take us places that we would never have have thought to go. We meet people, travel places, and return home, sometimes far from the starting point. And the beauty is in the connections we make and the friendships that are forged. Even those who have gone before reach back to us to give comfort, cheer and hope. And for those who have yet to be, may we create a world which nurtures a creative spirit.

    Happy New Year – all the very best to you and yours in 2014….

    “Another fresh new year is here . . .
    Another year to live!
    To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
    To love and laugh and give!

    This bright new year is given me
    To live each day with zest . . .
    To daily grow and try to be
    My highest and my best!

    I have the opportunity
    Once more to right some wrongs,
    To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
    And sing more joyful songs!”
    ― William Arthur Ward

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      And I am singing joyfully for I have good companions for the journey. Clanmother, WordPress, has made it official; you contributed 252 wonderful, positive and informative comments to my blog in 2013. You were my top commenter and an inspirational cheerleader 🙂 Thank you.

      Reply
  4. Leya

    Lovely, insightful reflection this last day of this year’s journey. It brought me great joy. The little hippo too – I would have liked to hold him. Please hold him for me too. Happy New Year on your journey! Soon, soon – here it is only one hour left. Thank you for 2013, see you next year!

    Reply
  5. tiny lessons blog

    Indeed we are on a life long journey with the Christmas season serving as a good reminder – provided we adapt to its pace, just like you describe. I’m happy you had great company for the holiday. I love the little traveler! I’m sure it will adapt well into its new environment 🙂

    Reply
  6. Ralph

    Hi Gallivanta 😀 You mean you have a wild untamed hippo roaming the plains of Canterbury. !! How brave of you to tend to such a fiercesome beast 😉 Happy New Year my friend. Ralph xox 😀

    Reply
  7. greenlightlady

    I enjoyed your words about journeys and the lovely art. As each new year arrives, I am learning to travel more reflectively; slowing down helps us not to miss out on lovely moments.

    Blessings on your New Year ~ Wendy

    Reply
  8. Letizia

    I love the idea of Christmas as a journey- I will always think of it in this way from now on. I hope it was a peaceful, lovely one. Sending you best wishes for a wonderful new year!

    Reply
  9. Mike Howe

    A lovely and wistful account of the diversity of journeys taken in life and brought to prominence at this time of year. I hope the pace has suited you well 🙂

    Reply
  10. Forest So Green

    Wonderful post. I also think about the instinct that leads us to the place where we belong, Happy New Year, Annie

    Reply
  11. lensandpensbysally

    You’ve created a commentary that swells with the year end story–one of reflection and possibilities. While you are in a different latitude, we have just begun winter, which adds to the need for introspection. But wherever you live, the turn of the year brings hope, which is your message.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Winter is a great time for introspection, isn’t it? Of course, the traditional Christmas story is a winter story; perfect for retelling and reflecting upon around the hearth.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I do love the whimsical, the random and the absurd. Whimsy, in particular, helps to make my journeys more enjoyable, and/or lightens the load on those journeys where I am being the beast of burden, like the donkey or the camel 😉 A friend of mine is on a journey in England. You may appreciate this wonderful piece of whimsy she found in a Nativity Scene ; it did make me laugh so! http://iftodayistuesday.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/wpid-photo-29122013-1123-am.jpg

      Reply
    2. womanseyeview

      Perfect! Don’t know if It’s the little dinosaur (probably left by a creationist or a helpful child) or the goofy looking sheep that is my favourite part. Thanks for sharing and all the best for 2014 – which you may already have entered while we still have our last day of 2013 before us.

      Reply
  12. coulda shoulda woulda

    well the three magi didn’t get to the stable until the 7th of jan right? so xmas is a period and very much a journey…( My husband is Greek so they celebrate on that day as well) But I just can’t rush things either and if someone raises an eyebrow about a late xmas card well…Happy new year to you though!! Wishing you and yours all the best in 2014

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Christmas is very much a period. We could have it starting in the first week of December, with the Dutch Sinterklaas and continue right through to about January 19 on some calendars. Orthodox Christmas is the date of the Western epiphany and some Orthodox traditions have their Epiphany on 19 January. So choose your dates, I say 🙂 and enjoy! Happy New Year to you too. Hoping you will soon be in your renovated home and feeling blessed to be home again.

      Reply
  13. Pingback: Journeys | ladysighs

  14. Juliet

    What lovely reflections on the journeys we take, and what a blessing to have family travel to be with you at Christmas. It sounds as if Christmas will continue for you, for as long as it takes. The little hippo looks cheerful.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Little hippo is like a handful of warm bright Africa 🙂 And, yes, the Christmas journey will end when it ends…..I like to take it at least as far as the Orthodox Christmas or Epiphany….no rush. I am loving your book and was delighted to find that you wrote about someone’s ‘commonplace’ book. I love a ‘commonplace’ book.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Lisa. We follow so many different paths, don’t we? The miracle is that we don’t end up permanently lost 🙂 Do we all have a homing instinct that knows where to go even if we are not aware of it? Here’s to the future and many happy path crossings with our fellow voyagers.

      Reply

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