Saturday, 19 December 2015

SEASON'S GREETINGS

What to look for in winter


   Frost's glittering tinsel
      jasmine's golden stars
         a hellebore in flower -
            snow's miracle.

© Mary Robinson 2015

After the incredibly mild and wet December (Cumbria is still mopping up) my seasonal poem seems a little inappropriate.  'Jasmine's golden stars' have been flowering in my garden for weeks and my Lenten rose has, over the last few years, morphed into a Christmas rose.

Snow is something of a miracle, the way it transforms everything.  We did have a very short-lived snowfall a week ago which changed the fells from muddy brown to pristine white for a few hours.

The hellebore (Christmas rose) has a Christmas legend associated with it.  A shepherd girl followed the shepherds to Bethlehem but when she arrived she had no gift for the baby.  Standing outside the stable she started to cry.  When her tears fell on the snowy ground they turned into the hellebore, Christmas rose, and provided her with a gift of flowers to take to the child.

Now we reminisce about the snow of Christmases past, and snow is still a common image on Christmas cards.  Snow is not unknown in Israel - I know someone who visited Jerusalem four years ago on an extremely snowy day.  T S Eliot's 'Journey of the Magi' begins with the famous words 'A cold coming we had of it' and a few lines later on the camels are 'lying down in the melting snow'.

The recent United Nations Climate Change Conference agreed to limit the rise in global temperature to less than 2 degrees C.   Let's hope we can achieve it.