Tall yellow candle flame in the heart of the room, on solstice night. Two others in windows, one facing north, one south.

The moment I’m in is wide and timeless, peopled by a few who are Present but Not Here.  I’m content to be at the balance point of the year, sitting in appreciation of them. There’s a certain amount of emotional intelligence in play here – this is not drama.

Three candles, four people.

Permit me, since you may not know them, to publish my deep respect for these folk I hold dear.  Though you are in no way obliged, I hope you will find a way to express appreciation for people who are not with you, but to whom you are nonetheless, undeniably connected.

over still-growing green on the edge of the quarry, the shocking white of first snow

TCP, I sense that you are now at peace.  Thanks for the edge of yourself that you showed us, that intense demanding glare that required, (as Dan McGee does still, for those who know him) – utter honesty.  Hardly any of us are as brave as you were, but because of you we’re braver now.  I dare myself now, regularly.  I do imagine you somewhere where you are, rolling around in peace, playing tug-of-war with it.   You get the first candle – you’re welcome, and welcomed.

The skiff and the Lymond, at Winnikenni, 2011

Care taken of things that matter.  Private, generous, complex, reserved,  and … tricksey.  MaryChrisSmith are written into every summer, inform every thought of my origin and my growth.  They teach the so subtle path between respect and independence; decorum and a rare, intriguing silliness; Spoken Of and Not (which I have so poorly understoood at times).  We could be on planets far apart in the galaxy in these months, but please know that I am in fact standing at your door ready to trade tales; to build new ones; and to offer help crew the ship.  My best word for this is ‘Yearning’.  I will see you soon I hope, in Kingston.  You get the South Candle, protected from the elements, facing warmth.

Lindenwood trail is now populated by impossibly tall, impossibly strong oak trees. Survivors of what my old native friend called "the Great European Experiment (clear-cut down and used to build ships and houses). They have re-claimed their abundance.

The north flame belongs to L, who knows a great deal about people, and has earned this by jumping off cliffs, surviving, and then jumping again, and surviving.  One of the most courageous people I know, with a great inner attachment to honesty.  Two things for you on solstice night, L – First, I  thank you & love you for your complicated, accomplished, driven Self.  The Second you know already:  I keep faith.

November Fern, still beaming.

for everyone who has read this – We’re into the year 2012 now (if you go by the turning of the year, the lengthening of days).  In honour of TCP, I dare you to appreciate someone publicly.