Morning Walk (a post for Christina in Australia, who asked for more snow...)
Wishing you and yours a good holiday season....

Winter Solstice Revels, Dartmoor-style

Winter Solstice 2010

This picture was taken two nights ago at what may well be the nicest, and certainly the most magical, Solstice celebration I've yet been to. The weather set the stage with Siberian snow, then friends and neighbors provided the rest: a bonfire of two giant Yule Logs burning brightly in a snow-covered stone-wall-bordered field, mulled cider, music (both Celtic and gypsy), and a great deal of laughter to see us all through the darkest night of the year.

That's artist Rima Staines on the accordion above, artist & folklorist Thomas Hine on fiddle, runic jewelry designer Jason Hancox on drum, mythic poet Tom Hirons on clarinet, and Thomas' wife, writer Lunar Hine, and baby looking on.

Howard joined us with a second accordion, and sang a haunting Celtic duet with artist Susie Yorke. (It was Susie who snapped this picture, by the way -- used here with her kind permission. ) Dogs and children ran through the snow in packs, young Tilly (being the sociable critter that she is) in raptures among them. All in all, a thoroughly enchanting night. Many thanks to Jason and Ruth, our hosts, for helping us mark this mythic turning of the year.

Snow tree

The snow shows no sign of leaving us soon, our car is still buried in a snow drift, and our end of the village is still largely impassable. We're stocked up on food, thanks to a kind friend with jeep (bless you, Nick Baker), but there are presents that won't make it through the post in time, both ones we're expecting and ones I've sent out. (I'm so sorry folks; I tried!) Nevermind. Our daughter made it safely back home to the village from London yesterday, and that's all that really matters: we're all here, safe and sound.

Howard has filled the house with boughs of holly and ivy gathered from the woods, and last night I made the kiffles (traditional Christmas cookies from the Pennsylvania Dutch side of my family) while corny Christmas tunes play on the stereo. The snow has slowed the world around us down into a place of white beauty, soft contours, and silence.  Tilly is glad that her family is all under one roof again. So let the holidays begin.

The view from my windowThe view from my studio window.

Here's a kiffle recipe that is close to the one handed down through generations of women in my family. (Sorry, the exact family recipe's a secret!) It takes a lot of work, admittedly, but I aways think of my mother, grandmother, and great-aunt Clara -- all of them gone now -- while I'm kneading the dough and that makes the task both a sacred ritual and a pleasure. Use 8 oz. of ground walnuts with a tsp. of sugar for the filling, though, not prunes or apricots -- that's sacrilege! And they should be made only at Christmastime...making kiffles at any other time of the year is just so...wrong.

Rolling the doughRolling the dough

Kiffle douggKiffle dough

Kiffle fillingKiffle filling

Finished KifflesThe finished kiffles


A great way to celebrate! Over here, we danced around the solstice fire under a bright full moon, though the wind was testament to winters arrival. Abundant inspiration and Solstice blessings to you!

What a lovely photo, and what a magical night it sounds like. Thank you for the links to the other artists and musicians who gathered with you - I had already been introduced to Rima's amazing blog (and artwork and life) through your blog, but now I look forward to exploring the blogs and web sites of the others. Your village really seems to draw multi-talented, creative people....

What a wonderful evening it must have been, good friends making real music, mulled cider to share, children and dogs running amok, all around a bright heart-warming bonfire...pure magic!

All hail the Kiffles. And btw, it's raining today in Tucson. The closest thing we get to a white Christmas in Sonora. "I'm dreaming of a wet Christmas."

Happy holidays to you all!

To you too, Grey!

Happy solstice to you, too, Terri, and here's hoping 2011 brings us all joy, abundance, good health, compassion, and the fulfillment of dreams!

Thank you for the lovely pictures....leaves me dreaming!

Happy Solstice to beautiful Chagford and all her friends!

The photo looks quite enchanting! Hope you all survive all that snow. We're getting dribs and drabs here in New England - signs of a wopper coming soon!
Merry Christmas to you and your family.

A lovely, enchanting photo; I can almost hear the music! Bless you for sharing! All the best in 2011!

Hello Terri - It was a very special Midwinter... One of the best I have ever had. Fire and snow is the way to go - you could feel the earth stirring to join our celebration! It was like we where in the lungs of the earth shouting out about the year to come, about waking. It was an evening that time shifted into another narrative to encompass...

(On a narrative note - Lunar has a blog to for her writing - - its the story of her going for her artistic dreams while also having just become a mother - some deep stuff and some not so. Thanks for linking to my folklore blog by the way!)

What a truly Magical Solstice image!
Love to you and yours!

Makes me think of the Summer Solstice we had for Delia's birthday on the hillside those years ago . . . .

So glad V got back home OK; love to think of you all tucked up at Bumblehill with each other & kiffle!

Happy Solstice Terri, Howard, Victoria and Tilly! We missed each other by a heart beat, it was a fine way to mark the turning of the year. Damien. xxx.

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