Midwinter Aspirations


I was having coffee along with a few friends a week or so ago and we were talking about Christmas when one friend said it was a right old fuss about just “one day” and each year she vowed she would not fuss so about Christmas the following year. But said another, like New Year’s resolutions, it always amounted to nothing – we all do it. For days after, the words “one day” echoed in my head at odd moments. It got me thinking – how many times I have said “one day I will change this or that” but instead, I blindly and unchangingly continue on in the rat race of my life.


I looked up the word “Resolution” – it is a firm decision to do or not to do something. The dictionary also gives an alternative word   “Aspiration” which means a hope or ambition of achieving something. I like the word aspiration better because a firm decision is just too fixed and definite for me at this time – I do not fully know what I want or what to do yet. Whereas at this time I just have a desire for a meaningful and purposeful life. So therefore, as I am not keen on the word “Resolution” why wait for New Years Day, why not begin now.


Christmas is just one of many worldwide Midwinter celebrations. So I thought I would look more into it. Christmas 25th December is about the birth of a son to Mary and Midwinter 21st December is the re-birth of the sun, the days from here on will be getting longer, from the dark of winter to the light of spring to summer. Yes that is what I need, more light to show me the way.  Now I did know much of this already but I had bought into the commercial celebration over the years.  You know the mad high street gift shopping and the large supermarket dash. So I decided do things a little different.


Buy Irish- support your nation products the advertisements advise, I try to do that (this is what I tell myself anyway when I pick up stuff that vaguely say Ireland), not really admitting that it is just easier to fill a trolley as quick as I can in one shop, bring it home, put it into fridge, freezer and cupboard, job done – aren’t I the mighty hunter/gatherer. I have found no joy in shopping for years in fact I have found it a hateful job. However I have said to family and friends I would love to go to the Christmas markets in Europe, never thinking to go to the Christmas markets that have started here in our own Cities and Towns this last couple of years.


So I went – Spraoi  na Nollaig Christmas Markets The Fairgreen Westport. The weather was dreadful, high winds, thunder rain and hailstone showers. So excuse above photo taken with phone camera with freezing cold shaking hands, it does not do justice to the atmosphere of the market.  Because none-the-less for all the bad weather it was a most enjoyable shopping outing I have had for years. The stall holders where in Great Spirit, friendly and helpful they are all top quality local artisan food or craft producers. I cannot say enough about Carrowholly Gouda style farmhouse cheese made from local raw cow’s milk, beside the shore of Clew Bay, the nettle cheese is just heaven.


As the sun went down on Midwinter Eve I lit a candle which I bought at the market and we had nettle cheese and old rustic cheese and bread with also a slice with Westport honey made by bees that gather nectar from heather on the mountains beside the Atlantic – delicious. I bought a enough for sharing with family and friends over the Christmas time too. So for me this year celebration is more than one day. And my aspirations will continue.       


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