June 21st; the winter solstice; the longest night of the year.
The sun will set tonight at 5.01pm and not rise again till 8.03 am. A long, dark night is ahead. Harsh winter days are ahead, too, but, after this solstice, this time of standing still, the days will lighten and lengthen and provide promises of the warmth to come.
I have been quiet; gathering in the sunshine (when it appears); thinking and reflecting; allocating my physical and mental resources, carefully and sparingly. I have been reading your blogs, as and when possible, enjoying your stories, your creativity, your company. You filter through my screen, reach out with your words and images, and become the surround sound, the presence, of my silent space, until the phone rings, or the doorbell trills, and my real-time world reminds me where I am.
Where I am….in a kitchen, looking at dishes, waiting on the sunlit bench, to be sent to the dishwasher.
In a kitchen, looking at the dishes, but sensing the sweetly fragrant camellias, at my back, on the sunlit table.
Yet, I am not entirely present, in this kitchen, for at the edges of my mind, I am dwelling in the time of my elders, seated at small kitchen tables, near old coal ranges, delighting in warm winter puddings, or bowls of hot porridge. And I am chuckling that this little girl, my mother’s big sister,
grew up to be the winner of a National Apple Pie competition in New Zealand, in the 1950s. ( Yes, cooking competitions existed before Masterchef) Who would have guessed it? She was a star in the making.
My aunt is NOT in this photo but these people are the placegetters in the 1959 Apple Pie Competition. ( The photo of my aunt with her prize-winning pie is lying somewhere deep, and presently undiscoverable, in family files, read junk piles! )
The darkness is coming; the sun is edging westward in the sky. Is it time to stop the memory clock and make a pie, perhaps?
Or should I light a candle, take up the aged photo albums, and dwell a little longer with the old ones?
The blessings of the Solstices, the still time, to you all.