Christmas – or if you prefer, Solstice, Hanukkah, or just This Special Time…
Stop now. For a moment, wait.
And look. From here you can see far.
In this direction, where we’ve been –
the climb, the ups and downs.
Now turn around. There before you
lies the future. At the summit of the year
there’s time to rest, and be refreshed –
let’s gather here, so we may share
each other’s company, look forward
to the new arrivals, lives to come
travelling into this misty landscape,
and in our brightness bring to mind
those no longer in our group.
So drop your rucksack, get your breath back
the old year lies behind –
for now let’s all enjoy the present
gift-wrapped here before us.
I’m quite sure this little poem has no great literary, let alone poetic merit, but hey we don’t always have to be polished, clever, neat or profound. Or original. Or elegant.
Especially not when you’ve just got to the top of a mountain.
But there is a definite and justified sense of celebration to be savoured then.
I’ve always loved mountains and climbing - whether we’re talking little Moel Y Gest, Cnicht, Crib Goch or Tryfan, or just the gentle slopes of Exmoor.
I’m not a ropes and crampons climber, though I have done a bit of that. What I really loved to do was put on my (seriously knobbly) running shoes, strip down and just run up and down a mountain (Snowdon’s not a bad one) – best of all, with a daughter (or two).
Since a hip replacement (or two) I can’t actually do that any longer, but I'm fit and active and can still climb.
So I’m privileged to continue to enjoy that wonderful warm feeling of achievement, of having got somewhere, of being – yes – at the top!
In a position to look back and forwards, of seeing time itself laid out in space – the future before you, the past behind…
Yes, what better moment to take stock, to celebrate and enjoy a swig and a Mars bar?
Here we are then, all of us, at the top of the year, which is understandably everywhere celebrated in all sorts of secular and sacred ways. As I call it Christmas, I’ll wish you a very Happy Christmas.
Whatever you call it, it’s celebration time!