We did not mark the solstice by getting up before dawn and watching the sun roll slowly out of the ground. We did not spend the night without electricity and lit only by candle. Instead we celebrated by heading to the big city and pottered about among the pulse and throb of Christmas. We did find ourselves having a leisurely lunch in the cathedral quarter among office workers. They were obviously on a Christmas lunch and very much full of festive cheer. They were merry and we merrily dined beside them and fed off their laughter and joy (and fumes maybe?). However, I did insist on connecting with the solstice somehow; by reading, out loud, chapter one of ‘Findings’ by Kathleen Jamie, on the drive from culchie land into the big city. It is a chapter all about the solstice, darkens and Maes Howe.

On the way home I was reminded about the significance that is carried to us by places like Maes Howe. I was reminded of this as we passed a grand old hill near to us and our journey home. This hill/mountain has a mound on its summit so obvious that it can just be seen by its silhouette against the winter night sky. In the daytime it stands out like a sore thumb; a lump of a thing that sits half molded into the earth and half folded into time itself. Yet, it has never been surveyed or excavated. I feel the need to share this observation with the lovely Sharon. Instantly she retorts that I always say this as we drive past. Slightly wounded by this harsh observation of my own dotting personality I reply in the only way I can, “it’s always true.”