15 December 2014

My turn

Well the year is about to turn... December Solstice this year is on Sunday, 21 December at 23:03 UTC.

My Solstice wreath this year, made from cuttings from the garden,
including the lovely Hedera helix 'Saggitifolia'
It's Winter Solstice where I'm sitting, but it'll be summer for some. I suffer from a terrible lack of imagination at this time of the year and find it almost impossible to imagine, in the depths of a cold, grey and rapidly darkening winter afternoon, just what things look like at the same time on a summer's day...

But some of you may remember the 'twenty-one' idea, which I hatched late last year. I wanted to record throughout the year the seasonal changes in some of the places I know well. I wanted to remind myself and you, dear reader, how the shifting light and temperatures ring the changes. At this latitude, on this western edge of the European continent, in the path of winds from the Atlantic Ocean, the seasons are not extreme, but they're different enough to require changes in plants and animals and us. The lack of light in the winter is a tough one for me, so I suppose this documenting of changes is a reminder to myself that, yes, the year is about to turn. And when it does, the light will return. Soon.

So, here we go, starting with the walk into my local park. It's a walk I do most mornings with Iz and so you may well spot a small schnauzer in some of these photos...

Heading into the park - at the solstices and equinoxes. 
The park is just a small suburban park in south Dublin. There's a mix of trees in there: scots pine, horse chestnut, oak, sycamore. There are also some very old conifers, including a giant redwood, some yews, and some others I'm not sure of - all no doubt left over from the original estate/demesne that was here before. And then there's the occasional surprise like the dogwood I spotted only this Spring, having missed it completely until then. Some observer I am...

Here are some of the oaks (and a scots pine or two!):

Scots pine and oak; some sycamore and ash lurking in the hedgerow

Sycamores, horse chestnuts and even a larch ring the changes throughout the year; I don't know how much longer that dead tree in the foreground will stand: the first storm of the autumn brought down a young ash tree in a nearby field

And finally, the year in a corner of my small north-facing garden
So having taken these photos throughout the year, and pulled them together this evening, what strikes me most is, not the changes in the plant life, but the changes in the angle and intensity of the light. Has this exercise helped my winter blues? Maybe a little. I hope it has helped yours too, if you suffer them!

As ever, I know that right now I just want to dive into Spring. And in the garden, the narcissi pushing through; the palest, tiniest buds on the snowdrops under the birches; the fattening flower-buds of the witch hazel... all of these are helping! This is yet another reason that I garden - the looking forward, the only constant being change. Love it.

It has been a tough year, but things are on the up; B is looking forward:

Good times ahead
And so am I. Happy Solstice all!


  1. Love it! I always enjoy your blog Erica. I'm look forward to that light of Spring.

    1. Thanks Debbie. I think we all look forward to that Spring light!

  2. Beautiful words. I'm so glad that things are on the up for you both. Hope to see you soon x

    1. Thanks Shevaun. And back to you in spades. x

  3. Simply fantastic & ur wreath is beautiful! So great to see the blue blue sky of Summer I feel a lift in my heart! The world is turning towards the light & now I feel so am I. Onward & Upward! Thank you J xx

    1. Onward and upward indeed Judi. So good to hear from you. Hope all is onward and upward with you and yours xx Spring soon!

  4. Greetings from the SUMMER SOLSTICE in New Zealand!! Its freaky! Sun and light and warmth. You'd love the amazing trees here. Lovely thought to photo same spot throughout the year. Have a good one!