Its 4.30am as I write and as usual I find myself conversing with my Muse more freely in these hours of darkness. So here I am tucked up in bed, laptop on my knee, a mug of eggnog latte beside me and my cat, Pyewackett, curled up asleep at my feet. The Yuletide festivities are over and my thoughts are turning towards the New Year. I really enjoy the New Year, though I must be honest and admit that I generally celebrate quietly at home, as I find the crowds in the city to be a little overwhelming. I always dream of celebrating in Edinburgh, but as soon as I see the masses of people on the TV I am always glad I stayed at home! The Scots do know how to put on a Hogmanay show though and the 2nd of January is a bank holiday north of the boarder, giving folk a chance to sleep off the festive headaches.
The New Year is a time of reflection and anticipation. We look back on what the past year has brought our way, deciding what we want to carry forward into the next year and also what we need to let go. It is a time of remembrance - old friends are in our thoughts once more, distant relations come calling and reconciliations warm even the coldest heart. Memories are fragile things, sometimes lying hidden deep in the mind only to bubble up to the surface of the conscious once again many years later. At this time of year it seems natural to look up old pals, or to offer an olive branch to someone you have had words with in the past. It is all too easy to misplace people; but one can never replace them.
I recently remembered some friends I made in the Highlands several years ago, when I was on holiday. There I met five boys and a soldier and we had a fantastic time hanging out in an army style tree-house in the woods. It was a forest full of princes and they taught me many things; like how to climb a rope ladder (you go up the side); how to glide down a zip-wire (one must always wear the wrist straps!); how to row a boat (if the water feels heavy and solid, you're doing it right). The soldier taught me how to follow my instincts in the Danger Zone without being afraid, while the fifth boy showed me how to feel the true love residing in and around an ancient Pictish marriage stone - I could hear the humming of the stone! The boys were set on joining the army and they could be serving anywhere in the world now. I hope they are all safe and well and if by some magical miracle any one of my six forest princes is reading this post, I would love to hear from him and catch up, so drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org
The run up to New Year is a great time to bring people back together; it is a time of love and forgiveness as old rifts are healed and stronger relationships are formed. All relationships have bumps in the road - some bumps seem so big you might think you will never get over them but little by little you can smooth things out. So if you have had a falling out with someone in the past and you have their number, take time this New Year to give them a call. Life is too short to bear a grudge. And if a bridge is going to be built, someone has to be strong enough to lay the first stone...