The Spirit of Renewal
So now, as the Maiden form of the Goddess whispers to us of hope and new beginnings at the festival of Imbolc, it is on a cold February morning that you are invited to step onto the ‘Wheel of the Year.
January, a time we often take stock of our lives and sometimes attempt to make changes with the hope of improving ourselves. Historically I have often set myself up to fail with ambitious resolutions that persist only as a lingering guilt. Last year I didn’t bother making any whatsoever, this year I am only striving for the actually feasible; especially when my attempt at a sugar free month lasted about five minutes after I was accosted by a chocolate bar that had somehow survived Christmas.
One of my aims for this year is to read more books, as I acquire them faster than I read them (this habit is called tsundoku in Japanese). Poetry is a fabulous way to achieve that goal, collections can often be slim volumes, with plenty of breathing space on the page, a literary espresso if you will, perfect on the go, and forgiving to dipping in and out of for those (lets face it, it is all of us) who are short of time. I recommend digging out some poetry if you have it, sampling the poetry section at the book shop or library, or even borrowing poetry from a friend or family member. There might even be some on the internet somewhere. I like this as a resolution, probably because it doesn’t involve sacrifice. There is a poet out there for you, I guarantee it. My personal favourite is Hera Lindsay Bird.
On the subject of poets, the 25th of January is the birthday of Robert Burns, and it is an important day here, with celebration dinners planned on the following Saturday. I have been celebrating Burns Night since moving to Scotland, and it is one of my favourite activities in January. If you’re not familiar with the Bard of Scotland, I recommend looking him up, or perhaps listening or watching his poetry performed.
This year I will be making my own Haggis for the very first time, a shocking admission as I have resided in Scotland for over six years now. I have my pinhead oats and a cherished and much admired recipe pilfered from a colleague, and I will be embarking on my haggis adventure this weekend. And as is tradition, I will be pairing my Haggis with neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes). Tradition is to give a concession to my vegetarian diet, the only butchering I will be doing is of the Scots language as I attempt to read the full address To a Haggis on the night. I am rather excited to see how my Haggis will turn out, surely better than my Scots pronunciation.