Reflections on 2021 Winter Solstice at Kelston Roundhill

On 21 December a couple of dozen of us dressed warm, gathered at Roundhill Barn and walked up to Kelston Clump to watch the end of the year’s shortest day.

It’s great to mark the Solstice properly; it marks something of fundamental importance about this time of year and has a wonderful way of liberating you to enjoy Christmas more fully.

Sunset on the shortest day of 2021 (photo: Jon Hamp, approaching from the north east around 1530).

Earlier we had the sun break out for the first time in weeks as we set up, so was a spectacular evening. Our very own Kelston Laureate Jon Hamp shared poems, with rich imagery rooted to the spot and that moment: the Roundhill as our lighthouse in a stormy sea.

We returned to the barn and – in a short event put on by Isabel Russo and Craig Kenyon – shared reflections about Solstice, about the beauty of life stripped back to the winter minimum, and how even if we fear the dark it the time we need to dream.

We shared reflections about Solstice, why we fear but also crave the dark, and looked forward to the return of longer days.

Solstice is a great moment for reflection, especially at a time when we’ve all got massive issues and challenges to think about. The months of darkness allow us to winter; to prepare not just for new life but also a renewed scrutiny when the light returns.

It’s good to remember that we dream in the dark, and that we’re now closer to spring than to September

As we rounded up Pete Judge treated us to a Solstice fanfare, and we danced round our circle of intentions. We shared refreshments and mulled wine, and headed off ready to face all that Christmas and to approach new-year challenges with hope. How else can we approach near-lockdown, delinquent leadership, fraught relations with neighbouring countries, a climate crisis and life’s usual challenges?

As we packed up and left around 1930, with Jupiter and Venus visible to the south, the moon started to rise to the east behind the clump.
Where are our photo-heroes Matt Prosser or Tim Graham when you need them? Hard to do the moonrise justice with my old phone, but here’s the best I could do…

About williamheath
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