Swaddled for December in the Museum of Somerset,
a four year old boy with flashing l.e.d. reindeer antlers
squashed on top of his head smudges his face right up
close to the glass to see a fossilised skull. A reindeer
set in stone stares back, the remaining evidence that
once these lands were his; he too walked the Mendips.
Covers of silence rest on the County Ground square
that groundstaff will leave undisturbed until a handful
of pensioners arm wrestle the April skies into admitting
it is summer for there is cricket. Wagtails in the outfield
tell tales of the mythical big bird which nested these
grounds some eight or more generations before them.
A volunteer at St. Mary Magdalenes’ sweeps the church
floor and shuffles the bookshop around before the start
of Evening Prayer. Breath rises, living incense, towards
roofbeams as she makes a lullaby to her pews and stained
glass of In Dulce Jubilo, ‘O Patris Caritas! O Nati lenitas!’
The heel clicks of her shoes on the tiles keep the time.
Christmas: fossiliser, legend maker, and dust collector,
sweeping us as one into the greater rhythms of everything
that is ending and all that we let go. Also, there is this now
lit by christingles, fairy-light reindeer, set aside fireworks,
kindness to neighbours, disco strobes, generosity of spirit,
love, songs, living hope that stops my heart frosting over.
(c) Simon Travers, 2013. All rights reserved.