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.
Dishes standing still, waiting to be washed.
In a kitchen, looking at the dishes, but sensing the sweetly fragrant camellias, at my back, on the sunlit table.
Sweet scented 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,
Best Apple Pie Maker in New Zealand
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! )
Best Apple Pies in New Zealand 1959 Placegetters in apple pie baking contest, holding their winning pies. Negatives of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: EP/1959/2616-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/30664376
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?
Winter Puddings for 1957 or 2014 Maori Affairs Department. APPLE PIE – (Te Ao Hou – No. 18 May 1957). Ref: Mao18TeA. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/199657
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.