In 1906 Edith Holden started a Diary, now known as ‘The Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady’. In it, she observed Natures cycle through the months of the year, writing simply about the weather, the birds, the flowers and the natural world around her. All the pages are beautifully ornamented with her original artwork and favourite poems. In this Blog, I’m going to try to emulate her Diary in a modern way. For a start, this is a blog on a computer, not pen and ink lovingly written on paper! However, I hope that the end result will have some similarities, in that I want to capture day by day, month by month the steady rhythm of Nature through the year. For although our 21st century lives are hectic, chaotic, noisy and deafened by electronics, the beat of the natural world, which is the backdrop to all our lives whether we notice it or not, remains ever the same. So take a sedate, gentle and steady-paced journey with me through the next year, observing the natural world. Our way of life may have changed almost beyond recognition since 1906, but nature is doing what it always has done, the cycle of nature remains constant and reassuringly predictable. In that respect, nothing has changed. ‘ No Winter lasts forever; no Spring skips its turn.’ (Hal Borland)

Sunday, 1 December 2013

December 1st.

The name 'December' comes from the Latin word for 'ten', as this was the tenth month of the Roman calender. The Anglo-Saxons called this month 'winter monath or 'yule monath' as at Mid winter (21st December), they would burn the Yule Log to banish darkness and celebrate the return of the light as the year turned once again towards Spring. Later as they became Christians they also called it ' Heligh monath'-Holy Month referring of course to their newly acquired festival of Christmas. 

Traditional days in December.
6th December- St Nicholas's Day.
21st December- Winter Solstice.
25th December- Christmas Day.
26th December-St Stephens' Day.
29th December- St. Thomas's Day.
31st December-New Years Eve.

Folklore sayings about December.
' If the sun shines through the apple trees upon a Christmas day,
When Autumn comes they will a load of fruit display'.

'Snow on Christmas means Easter will be green'.

'A mild December precedes a cold snap later in the Winter'.

In Drear-Nighted December-John Keats.
"In drear-nighted December,
Too happy, happy tree,
Thy branches ne'er remember
Their green felicity:
The north cannot undo them
With a sleety whistle through them;
Nor frozen thawings glue them
From budding at the prime.

In drear-nighted December,
Too happy, happy brook,
Thy bubblings ne'er remember
Apollo's summer look;
But with a sweet forgetting,
They stay their crystal fretting,
Never, never petting
About the frozen time.

Ah! would 'twere so with many
A gentle girl and boy!
But were there ever any
Writhed not at passed joy?
The feel of not to feel it,
When there is none to heal it
Nor numbed sense to steel it,
Was never said in rhyme."

A mild, grey start to the month. On the river there were several families of swans, white parents with their large but still grey-feathered young enjoying the calm and mild waters. The river is fairly low at the moment as November was a dry month. Only a couple of weeks until the year turns around again and the nights start to get lighter!

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