1 November. In Cornwall, tradition says that not only it that this is the first day of winter, but some say it is the start of the new Celtic year. Marking half way between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice, today felt lighter and brighter than any in the past few weeks. The harvest has ended. Winter is coming.
Since moving here in bright stark August, which truth be told is my least favourite month of the year, we’ve been adjusting, settling into our new routine. Whilst August made the most sense to move as Pip was between school years, it always felt like we’d arrived just as something was finishing, not starting. Cornwall is so very seasonal, so it is no surprise to me that I have been drawn to and inspired by the changing light and rhythms outside our very door. We don’t have a religion, but I am called by parts of the pagan calendar, which seems to make so much more sense to me.
Autumn has often seen some of my darkest days and my lowest points and this year has been no exception. But what has surprised me is the effect of the days. Yesterday, 31 October, halloween, sanhaim, allentide, call it what you will, felt like a door was closing. I found myself sitting on the cliff near my office sobbing uncontrollably. In amongst the swirling voices inside my head a whisper came: one step at a time. Keep moving. So I did… marching along the cliff path, drawing in deep breaths of clear clean salty cold air, and lifting my heart to the sun.
Racing home last night after work, I made it in time to carve the pumpkins and for Pip to go out trick or treating in the village with her Dad. Buster in bed, I had half an hour to myself. I lit candles and stood in the darkness, taking stock and thinking. The house, warmed only by our fire, and lit only by candles, felt still, cool and peaceful. Clear. Inspiring.
This morning, even Buster slept in past 5.30am, as if even he had slept better. As I drove to work over the moor, the light was incredible. I have no idea whether 1 November really is a new year but I like the idea that it is, or could be. In my heart, anyway.