This week leading up to the Winter Solstice has always been significant in my life. I don’t suffer from Seasonally Affective Disorder at all, but I have always liked waking up with the sun, and these late wake ups in December and January really don’t suit me at all. I start, mildly, dreading short days and late wake ups as we pass the Summer Solstice and start on the downward slope to shorter days, an utterly futile anxiety which is equally matched for over-reaction by my mental joy when December 21 St is past. Despite the reality of many more short days to be endured in January and February.
Quite by chance, earlier this week, I found a blocked up window that nicely illustrates my negativity towards this time of year.
Then again, quite by chance, I discovered another name for the Winter Solstice. Hiburnal Solstice. I think I may be a mental hibernator. During these short dark days I have a favourite coat. It was already old when I bought it on EBay more than 20 years ago. It is much older than me and is a 1940’s shawl collar, fake fur Jacket. It is a weighty beast and tends to only be worn in the dark days of December and January. The jacket tends to live in the car and hides unwrapped Christmas gifts or comforts sleepy passengers who need to snooze on long dark journeys. I suspect the jacket is my personal hibernation. A garment very much with a specific season of wear and a garment that now holds 20 years of my winter history, a history that is known to me. But beyond that my coat has had another life, maybe as much as 60 years of keeping a different woman or women warm in the darkest and coldest of times.
Whoever the women have been it is obvious that it has only ever been relatively infrequently worn. Maybe it has always been a hibernation coat. Worn only in the darkest of months, a garment that offers a form of hibernation until the days get brighter.