Outlook Issue 22 Winter 2016
News and Views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
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The quieter season
The quieter season No sun – no moon! No morn – no noon – No dawn – no dusk – no proper time of day … No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees, No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds. November! Thomas Hood One of my favourite pictures is a winter’s scene painted by the artist Jiménez, a wonderful atmospheric scene, with leafless trees and brushes of snow and a mist-covered mountain. This scene has a stark distinctive beauty all of its own. It reminds me that winter has positives as well as negatives. Despite the complexities of our weather, winter broadly lasts from November to February. A dreary period, pavements never wholly dry, looking slippery and dirty. Clouds hanging over grey buildings, and very often you can’t see too far into the distance. It’s cold, grey, drab, miserable. It is enough to make people gloomy, even depressed. Spring and summer seem ages away. Feet are cold and we are all coughing and sneezing. Yet sometimes we encounter days that are utterly different. Not a cloud in the sky. The sun is bright. Everything seems drier, cleaner, greener. People cheer up. ‘It’s like spring,’ they say, even though it isn’t, for the air is cold and we still need winter clothes. In T S Eliot’s ‘Little Gidding’, the poet wonderfully describes such a day as ‘midwinter spring’. A day out of season, a magical time of year, ‘sempiternal, though sodden towards sundown’. Yet in that day we see beauty in colour and form, even though we know that before sunset the pavements will dampen and a mist may close in. In that day, we are reminded that the real spring follows on, but we must be patient. Not easy as we switch up the central heating! Support for the elderly For the elderly and those who face hardship and poor health, winter is a difficult time, and they need extra thoughtfulness, consideration and support, as do the birds and animals. In the cycle of nature, winter is essential for seeds and hibernating animals. It is a quieter time of year for humans, as well as for nature: a time of renewal, renovation, resting and, yes, refreshment. Some elements we all need periodically – especially after Christmastide! ‘For every time there is a season’ and winter is the quieter time. Take advantage of it and, on ‘midwinter spring’ days, take a walk. Appreciate winter’s beauty, its positives, in the sure knowledge that as day follows night, spring follows winter – spring in its own beauty, heralding new beginnings. Michael Booth