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Friday Snapshot from the Library

December 27, 2013


I came across this book written in 1936 it has a story of Christmas that reminds me of Christmas in olden times … that is so nice.  

The month of December used to be called by the Saxons Winter-Monath.  Etymologists suggest the words, wet and water, derived from the same root as winter. In England this is true during the first weeks of the this month it often rains; so frequently that the week before Christmas is the darkest of the twelve months.  The lives of city dwellers are not to much affected by the natural darkness of the night as the streets are always well light and the shop fronts are always aglow.  In the Twelve months by LLewelyn Powys; with engravings by Robert Gibbings, we are reminded of the smog; produced by the ‘concentration of chimney stacks’ that would keep city folk indoors as the sun went down.  They would never experience the sensation of long lonely walks in a blinding storm and the satisfaction of arriving safely home.

A true countryman we hear; know how to make the most of the such an adventure, even enjoy hearing the wind whistle past his ears and the driving rain against his chin.  Under such conditions in spite of sodden boots and dampened overcoat he recovers his unsophisticated animal senses.  This is added, he tells us, to human intelligence as the walker notices that the young cows while sheltering under the  leafless hedge, their backs and hind quarters are exposed to all manner of weather.

It is said, that if the new moon makes an appearance at this time it its not strong enough to have any effect.  If, however the weather is frosty then the star shine is sufficient for vision and the sight of Orion and other ‘glittering constellations’ is pleasing.  

It would seem that although the weather at Christmas is inclement the thought of the coming of Christmas raises spirits during November and early December.  Christmas is a feast that not only celebrates the fairy changeling of Christian mythology, but also the  return of the sun.  Christmas,  is declared to be the season especially dedicated to the unlicensed human revelry.  There is not a man, woman or child in England  who does not come by a bellyful of food.  The stalled ox, the sheep, the pig, turkeys, geese, pheasants, herrings and mud-fat eels; all sacrificed wholesale to human appetites.  And the author suggests that for those whose tastes are no longer for carnivorous dietaries, pineapples,, pomegranates, dates from Arabia, raisins from Greece, oranges from Spain and ginger, hot out of China, contribute to a sense of the privileged good fare

However, while the poor enjoy beer those with the more refined palate enjoy the fruit of the grape.

It is we hear also a time for dancing, laughter, and love-making; for  today only our wealth and worldly success count for nothing.  We do not wish riches for our friends we wish them only to BE MERRY!!  

Christmas is not a good time for considering or ‘coffers or our our coffins’

It is enough to know we are still alive and that the immortal sun has turned back upon his course and will soon reawaken the dreaming earth to impregnate her with the children of spring and summer … to be continued.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Laura Bloomsbury permalink
    December 27, 2013 4:52 pm

    enjoyed every word – and the reminder to try and enjoy the wet and wild wind this winter

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