The frost has settled on the ground all around the cottage.
The land looks very much like a Christmas card, with frost sparkling in the early morning sun.
There is something so captivating about the light at midwinter…it really is quite magical!
The sad thing is that much of the magic has disappeared from Christmas.
This special time has become so very commercialised, that it seems near impossible to avoid the frenzy that is now Christmas!
However, in recent years I have attempted to do just that, and this year I feel comfortable with my own very special take on the festivities.
I am a baby vegan…just starting this wonderful journey.
Previous to that I was a vegetarian, so meat has been off the menu for some time now.
This dietary choice takes me out of one Christmas loop.
So, instead of a massive dinner that used to leave me wedged onto a sofa for most of the evening, stomach heavy with over-indulging, I cook up an absolute feast of dishes that serve as a dinner and evening buffet for family and friends.
As it is a special feast, all who attend bring a special dish of food, so the term feast is justly applied.
Gifts are exchanged, but they are special, hand-made or locally sourced gifts.
This year I have made each family member an album of photographs of special memories.
A painting of a beloved pet was commissioned for another dinner guest.
An Irish woollen scarf has been knitted for another…and so on.
There are lots of home made wines and liqueurs, all made from fruit and flowers grown here at Bealtaine and none of which will cause a hangover!
Games are played…most of which end in silliness!
As there is no television we talk…something that the television usually does for us!
In the afternoon we all go for a walk in the woods down near Lough Key…usually with no-one else around.
“Who shall describe the inexpressible tenderness and immortal life of the grim forest, where Nature, though it be midwinter, is ever in her spring, where the moss-grown and decaying trees are not old, but seem to enjoy a perpetual youth.” ~Henry David Thoreau
At this special time of year, in the deep midwinter, there is beauty and joy and friendship.