February 1st

It’s 5:30 pm, soup is simmering, Sirrocco is making meatballs and singing while the little ones play with homemade playdough. It’s the eve of Candlemas, the feast of St. Brigid, half way between the solstice and the Equinox, and the days actually do seem to be getting longer finally. There’s still a glimmer on the horizon as I sit down to write.

It’s getting very strange to look back on the last year and how different things are now. We haven’t seen any of our extended family since last February. Even with our wandering lifestyle that’s a long time. Lent is just around the corner and I’m already tired from the sacrifices of the last year. January is always a long dark month. This past month was no exception. Lockdown fatigue, the weight of grief, the increasingly hostile environment towards home education in the UK, not to mention deadlines at work for Kyle, have collaborated to form a particularly potent cocktail of exhaustion. And so, what’s there to do? This weekend we counted birds in our garden, reorganised the living room furniture and tended the garden. I ordered some new books and took a long bath.

Tomorrow we will celebrate longer days and hope for the future by looking for shoots and bulbs peeking out, decorating candles and putting some daffodils on the table. We’ll read about the contradiction that is the Holy Child who brings Joy to all, but whose life and suffering will pierce his Mother’s heart. Our calendar image shows an old woman sweeping away the last of last year’s leaves in the pouring rain, I found it an odd image at first, for the first peeking of Spring, but I like it, there’s work to do, dead leaves to sweep, snow to melt, cleansing rains to come before the rising of the sun.

May Brigid bless the house wherein you dwell. Bless every fireside, every wall and door. Bless every heart that beats beneath its roof. Bless every hand that toils to bring it joy. Bless every foot that walks its portals through. May Brigid bless the house that shelters you.


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