I find it very hard to look forward with hope at Christmas and New Year. However, when it comes down to it, that is all you can do. You can't just stop.
In the second half of this year, two amazing women that I first 'met' through blogging nearly ten years ago have lost their partners. Watching them continue with their lives one day at a time in the face of their different griefs has been an inspiration to me, even through the window of social media.
Other friends have coped with other things - large difficulties and small sadnesses, day to day and month to month. We all just keep moving forward, a step at a time - sometimes the step is as big as a week, sometimes it's a day. Sometimes it can just be moving along in five minute slices of time and breathing in and out.
I'm not sure what I want to say here, really. I think I'm just putting a marker out there to acknowledge that a lot of the people that I see as part of our family of choice, or our friendship and support network have also not had the easiest of years. And that together, we have made it through. Of course there has been happiness and joy in large measure as well and it has been a pleasure and a privilege to share that with the same people.
Looking out my window, I see the fields stretching in to the distance to the Blackdowns and the winter sunlight casting it's long shadow from behind the hedgerows. There are already catkins on the hazel. The hens are coming back in to lay. The wheel is turning and we have made it to the top. The days will lengthen now and although we still have January and February to get through, from here it is downhill to the spring.
Underneath us all, under all our happiness and all our griefs, the bones of the land remain the same. Slow and steady, warming and cooling in a perpetual routine with the fading and returning of the sun. Those hedges out there have had the winter sun through them like this for a millennia. People in this village have looked across the Vale and seen them same outline of the hills beyond for longer than that, probably. We endure, as does the land beneath us.
You lot out there, who have been there for us this past twelve months in whichever way, you are loved, very much.