If there’s ever a time when colour penetrates our very soul it has to be during the Christmas season. How tirelessly long the dark winter would seem were it not for the beautiful explosion of colour that takes us over the hump into mid January.
Back in the sixties when I was a child, little was spent on decorations and each house, for the most part had just the kitchen window adorned. Shiny tinsel did not make an appearance until a bit later but I can clearly remember the little thin stacks of dullish, multi-colour paper ones doing their best to spread festive cheer.
On our front window of our old farmhouse, my mother had the glass container from an old car battery. She would fill this with sand, wrap it with Christmas paper and tinsel and place a tall sturdy red Christmas candle in it. This was lit, as were lights in all rooms, on Christmas Eve, Christmas Night, New Year’s night and Small Christmas on 6th January.
Living less than 10 minutes walk from the cliffs, we used to collect washed up sea buoys. Most were the old aluminium dark grey ones and beautiful in their own right. Others were of hard plastic but came in a variety of bright colours. My mother would run a gold coloured chain entwined with tinsel, through a small collection of these and hang them over the same kitchen window. These came out every year and for me, were the first clear sign that Christmas had arrived.
Sprigs of holly were placed behind the large holy pictures, the art of the day in every rural house back then. Beliefs aside, these were beautiful pieces with flawless illustration and paintwork that would entice any child into the world of
Fast forward to the present, where houses blaze and dazzle with electric colour and more power to the people who put in all that effort, creating beautiful outsides that enhance our experience of the festive season.
Colour colour colour, we know it’s good for us.
And what about an enchanted countryside blanketed with white snow and it’s shadows I wonder will we get some this winter? I hope so. Even the littlest bit has such a very calming effect. It seems to slow time right down and everything seems quieter.
I will be talking about Monet in the new-year, but in the meantime here are some of his snow scenes.