Normally by this time I am itching to start the new year, I'll have well and truly had my fill of the winter festivities and be looking forward to wiping the slate clean and starting afresh. This year, however, everything feels different. For some reason I feel as though the whirlwind of activity that is Yule/Christmas never really got going. I was busy enough, certainly. We visited family and did the 'santa run', heading nearly 300 miles to distribute presents to our nearest and dearest. I cooked up a frenzy in the kitchen with fresh sausage rolls or mince pies almost constantly in the oven. I brought in green boughs and decorated them with bright baubles and twinkling lights, I raised a glass or two (and then some) to the season, but I never really felt 'festive'. I am not alone in this, I have heard many of my family admitting to just not having felt 'Christmassy' this year, strangely, even the children.
I shall take down my decorations on New Years Day as I always do. I have never liked the tradition most people here in the UK adhere to of leaving them up until 12th Night. As much as I adore their sparkly loveliness through the darkest of nights, I want to start the new year clean and fresh without any clutter from the old year hanging about.
And 2011 is definitely a year I want rid of. It wasn't just Yule which failed to 'get going', the whole year has felt that way.
It wasn't really a bad year. There were ups and downs like any other.
It was a year when we welcomed three new grandchildren, two born to my eldest son and one born to my eldest step-daughter. All beautiful, healthy and an absolute joy.
It was a year dogged by health problems, both for myself and my mad druid, some of which are still unresolved.
It was a year on a financial roller coaster, wild highs and sudden lows, to keep us forever off balance.
It was a year with beautiful moments, like watching Ravens fly over the Cheesewring or walking through mystical woodlands only tentatively connected to this realm.
It was a year of the mundane, the daily drudge and energy sapping, mind numbing routine.
It was a year of learning, of looking within.
And yet it seems like a 'nothing' year, an empty year, a year of treading water, a year of waiting.
Waiting for what, I do not know but there has been a definite sense of marking time. There has been a sense of stasis about this year. Progress has been minimal, if there has been any at all. But I have the feeling it was meant to be so.
The reasons have yet to be revealed, but there is change afoot. That I know.