"FUIMUS - We Have Been"

"FUIMUS - We Have Been!" motto of Clan Bruce

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Thursday, 24 December 2015

ONCE UPON A DREAM; Christmas Rose

A Rose in Winter

It's 9pm on Christmas Eve and the weather has turned suddenly chilly, almost as if the sky deities know that people are dreaming of a white and frosty Christmas.  I'm curled up by the fire, with the lights of the tree twinkling and sparkling around me. A cinnamon chai WoodWick candle crackles as it burns, filling the room with a warm spicy fragrance.

I feel content and a bit dreamy tonight.  Although it is only the beginning of Christmas my mind has already turned towards the goals I want to set myself for next year.  2015 is drawing to a quiet close and I am happy to leave it behind. It hasn't been a bad year; but I have been in a state of anger, grief and sadness for much of it.  Now that a new year is waiting in the wings and I am in a much calmer state of mind, I feel ready to welcome new adventures.

I have greatly missed Scotland this year, but having a break from it was the right thing to do, for several reasons.  I'll be continuing the break through 2016 too. Friends there have my number and can call me if they miss me meantime, and the motorway runs both ways - they can always come to Yorkshire. 

But for now my college course has to take priority, and pass or fail, I have only 18 months of studying left to go and then I'll be free of night school.  So I plan to return to Scotland after completing the course; perhaps to Dornoch for the autumnal equinox in 2017. That is something I can look forward to and it will be a nice treat after four years of studying, essay writing and exams.

This time away from the Highlands has served to help me reassess how I feel about what I've experienced there, because it isn't all romance and pipe-dreams. There is a harsh side to Scotland; the cold weather takes its toll on me because of my thyroid illness; some of the local women there can be hostile at times; and my straight-taking Yorkshire ways simply cannot fathom the two faces of the Scots. Do they know they can seem false to those who might be unfamiliar with their ways? Why can't they just say what they mean? Why talk in riddles and in the 3rd person when I'm standing right there?  I needed a break from it.

I needed time to get back to my honest Yorkshire roots; to good old fashioned English values.  An Austrian called Sven told me "You are an English rose"...I've been thinking about this in recent months.  What does it mean to be an English rose and have I allowed the Bruce to be too dominant a side of my personality?  I am the rose and the thistle combined, English and Scots by birth and blood, yet I've never thought of myself as an English rose before - it took an Austrian tourist to point it out to me.

An English rose is pale skinned, with rosy lips and cheeks..so in that respect I fit the description.  The White Rose is the emblem of Yorkshire, so that fits too.  Yet I always imagined an English rose to be passive, easily charmed and that's where I falter.  I'm too bolshie to be passive - yet roses have thorns, so maybe I am one after all. It has certainly given me food for thought.

To me an English rose is peaceful, gentle, charming and joyful; while the Scots Thistle is prickly, defensive, vigilant and wild. 'None shall irritate me unscathed' and I have certainly exhibited thistle behavior this past year, so perhaps it is time to cultivate my inner rose instead and see where she takes me. Perhaps she will help me to remain calm and serene under pressure; receptive and open to bright new prospects; blossoming towards a new adventure.  

Maybe 2016 will be my English Rose year; a year to soften the edges and come to full bloom once more.  Perhaps it is only by embracing my English side that the rose and the thistle can co-exist peacefully together within my personality. And its not like I'm turning away from my Scots side because the white rose was also the symbol of the Jacobites...so I guess whichever way you look at it rebellion is in my blood! 

And so tonight, a Christmas rose is born...and a Merry Christmas to all the other roses out there x

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