Sunday, January 1, 2017

Another year has passed

and I guess a "happy new year" is in order..... as far as that means anything. Which it doesn't. Not for me anyway. I used to celebrate this turn of the year, but over time it has become quite meaningless to me. What is it other than just the passing of another day on our artificially created calendar, the turning of yet another hour on our equally created clocks?
For me the new year started on december 22nd with the passing of the winter solstice. The shortest day and the longest night of the seasons has passed. From now on the days lengthen and spring is getting closer. For me this is the time of the Long Wait.
Yes, we are going toward lighter days, but the days ahead seem to be darkening nonetheless. I have this feeling of unease and I must say that I worry, maybe even fear the near future. Apparently it was the darkest solstice in 500 years, due to a lunar eclipse, which enhances such feelings.... or so it was said. But there is more going on. Much more.
We had planned to celebrate this solstice, but weather kind of messed things up. A severe thaw and high winds made it a lot less enjoyable. It is a hazardous time and not just because of the ice on the roads that looks like a polished mirror and two dogs pulling you this way and that. Had some close encounters with said surfaces so far. It is also a hazardous time, due to the lack of light and the tendency to think desperate, doomy thoughts. All the more important to focus on those things that give you joy. Like the way we, as a family, like to spend our christmas season days. Something that has grown into a tradition of sorts; watching the Harry Potter-movies. Now to us this is more then just hanging in front of the tv. It means the evenings are filled with being together, enjoying a drink and some snacks, after which we watch one movie at a time. Such nights include talks, laughter, even playing a boardgame.
The first day of the year I spent cleaning out the chickencoop and allowing it to air and dry properly and being around the chickens always brings me joy as well. I regularly pause, just standing there, while the chickens move around, pecking, scratching, especially if I throw around a few hands of seeds, and I listen to their soft clucking sounds or the ringing call of one of the cocks. The clucking has quite a soothing and relaxing effect.
Another joy was the discovery of a dead chickenhawk, right in front of our son's bedroom window. A joy? Yes. For now this one will no longer be a threat to our chickens. But also a joy, because we were able to study and admire this bird up close and hands on. And yet I felt a little sad as well. Sad, because this beautiful creature died. When I picked it up its head just hung there; broken neck. It had a wound in its neck, but that might have gotten there after it had died. There was no blood on the feathers. It also had a broken toe, tallon bent inward and tendons showing through the skin. No other injuries were found. Either way, we studied it, learned from it and collected quite a few parts, which we normally would not get our hands on. We took the talons of which we plan to make pendants. My wife collected a good deal of its feathers to be used in her angel creations and I took its head, hoping to be able to add it to my collecting of birdskulls, delicate pieces of art.
Looking at those talons made me realise immediately why such a chickenhawk is such a menace! They are huge! Would even inflict serious injury to a human.... And we actually have a chicken that survived such an attack and bears the scars to prove it...

Christmas is over and this one most likely will be kind of special for and to us. It was our 5th christmas here in Sweden and if all goes as planned our last one as Dutch citizens. If we continue on our current course it might just be the last one in general. Because we have been thinking.... Why do we even celebrate christmas? It is not that we are devout christians. If anything we would be considered atheists, heretics, pagans or whatever popular label current normalcy would slap upon people like us.
No, we do not believe in christianity as it is practiced today. No, we do not believe in any major religion at all. So why celebrate their feasts? Why tag along with these traditions, when these no longer apply or even appeal to us? After all hasn't christmas degraded into one single consumerist buying- and eating frenzy? A prime example of greed, gluttony and pride? To us it has been a feast to be together with our family. To spend time together. But if the traditional values fall away, then what is the use of doing it on these days? Any other day would be just as good.
No, if there is a god, it shows itself through the singing of the birds, the budding of leaves, the blooming of flowers, the buzzing of bees and the grandeur in the ever changing palette of colours and patterns in the skies and the seas. It is in the everlasting cycle of the seasons, of birth, life and death in whatever shape or form these manifest themselves. And that is a god or religion that needs no wars to be fought for or over....

1 comment:

  1. Agreed on all points. We just use the holidays to get together as family because the "bosses" let us off work. So we make the most of that.

    I love the raptors. Of all birds they seem most "wild". Wolves of the sky. Intense. Focused.