20 December 2009

Winter Solstice

Tomorrow is the Winter Solstice, and tonight is my 2nd Annual Winter Solstice Party.

Tomorrow, after I clean up my house, I will set the table with pretty linens and delicate plates, and I will make myself a pot of tea, a plate of scones, a sandwich, and some cookies, and I will drink the tea from one of my Nana's teacups.
You see, tomorrow is a Monday, and for some reason tea rooms don't like to be open on Mondays.

I'm getting ahead of myself.

Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year, and the shortest day. It's the official beginning of Winter, and a time for introspection and planning for the new year. Winter is the dark time, the hibernating time, and it's in the winter that the stories were passed down to the next generations as oral histories.
The stories.
The stories are important.

Once, there was a little girl. Her mother was gone and her father was a gypsy, so she lived with her grandmother in a big, big house where the two of them rattled around like two peas in a big, big pod.
The house was full of secrets and mysteries, but it was also a happy a place, the most stable place the little girl ever lived, and she never, ever doubted when she lived there that her Nana loved her.
Her Nana was a little old lady with pale, pale skin and silvery hair, and a curved back that nevertheless always gave the impression of being martially straight. She was a very little old lady, but everyone obeyed her and called her, 'The Little General-" everyone except the little girl, who climbed in her lap even once she was much too big to do so, and called her Nana, or Gran.
The little girl was a tomboy, and didn't like girly things. She didn't want to sit still, or dress up for dinners,and she definitely didn't want to learn to take tea. But her Nana insisted, and made her hot chocolate instead, so they sat at the long, long table in the big, big house, and her Nana set it with pretty, delicate plates and let her pick out a teacup from her special collection of teacups. The little girl fidgeted, and whined, but she loved her Nana so she sat at the long, long table in the big, big house, and she drank hot chocolate like a little lady, and learned to eat cookies without making a mess.

When the little girl was much older, and not nearly as little anymore, she was taken away from her Nana and sent somewhere else.
She never forgot her Nana, but she was angry and hurting and young and selfish and was never as close to her Nana after that.

As such things happen, for her Nana was quite old when the little girl lived with her, one day her Nana slipped into the warm Darkness, and the girl (who was not very little anymore) grieved for a very long time.

The very next Winter Solstice, she decided to go and have tea at a local tea room, in honor of her Nana.
She sat in the beautiful room, sipped real tea this time! from a pretty, delicate tea cup very much like her Nana's, and nibbled scones and cookies and sandwiches without making a mess. And if there were tears in her eyes, well, there was a smile on her lips as she remembered the little old lady and the long, long table in the big, big house.

And she's been doing it ever since.


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