After the Winter Solstice

Blue Spruce Tree

Blue Spruce Tree

LAKE MACBRIDE— Snow weighed upon the blue spruce and pin oak trees begging someone to shake it loose so the branches won’t break. That someone is me. It snowed between four and five inches overnight, framing up several hours of outdoors work to add to the plans for decorating the house for Christmas and baking a batch of cookies. Today, with its simple pleasures and honest work, may be one of the best days this year.

Having done my tour of duty on the Salisbury Plain, memories are scant. I stayed at a youth hostel, and made visits to Salisbury, Bath and Stonehenge. Another traveler, who spent the previous few weeks wandering about the moorland of southwest England, invited me to accompany him. I declined. It sounded too much like Iowa, and a bit dreary. I bought a post card at the Stonehenge gift shop and worked my way from the chalky plateau to the chalk cliffs of Dover and then to Calais, where my journal of Salisbury and England was pinched with my backpack after crossing the channel in a hovercraft.

I never looked back on England, and don’t understand the fascination with Stonehenge at the winter solstice. It is an old thing, shrouded in lost history. I’m more thankful that the days start getting longer, and planning for 2014 can begin in earnest.

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