Fortunately lit up by my father’s, my daughter’s and my own birthday, the month of January could well otherwise be known as the Doldrums, only interspersed with those amber lights from our windows at night, some left-over autumn leaves, or the joyful buds of the Christmas Rose.
I was delighted to hear the etymology of the word Doldrums from my sailing partner as the windless time when sail-powered boats can find themselves trapped at sea for days or even weeks. Yikes, cabin fever doesn’t quite cover that event! There would certainly be plenty of ghosts on board our ship, I’m just not sure who would be the surviving family member. So a bit like Christmas really.
This new year there has been a great amount of looking forwards, leaving the lessons of the previous year to convert into knowledge without really looking at them, and yearning and very much hoping for the year ahead to be in tune with my dreams for it.
The wonderful Janus, god of transitions, is the mentor, overseer of this month and root of its name. Sometimes drawn with two faces – one looking at the year just gone, the other to the future he was concerned also with travelling and shipping. He wouldn’t have liked the doldrums, but would have enjoyed our celebrations around the world of the turning of the year, the looking back and forward at the same time, the shifts and dreams for transformation or movement.
And as I go around local shops in my hometown of Kingsbridge, there seems to be much brewing. And it’s new – not new in the consumerist way, but new in the terms of philosophy, youth, fresh ideas of how to live. It’s the most exciting feeling to hear about the goings on, like the Food Assembly, a weekly collection of local food products which you can order online then collect every Wednesday evening from growers and producers living nearby. 92% of money going through the Food assembly will stay in the local economy, instead of hemorrhaging outwards to the offshore accounts of shareholders as with the humungous food chains.
With the urgent need to look at how we live in tune with the land that feeds us, these new ideas summon up thoughts of spring in the darkness – green shoots ( a phase so often used by politicians referring to the economy. Let’s re-claim that image!) to being hope and vitality to our lives. It all reminds me that underneath the grey, damp, cool layer of earth the roots are probably already stirring.
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