The fog is thick and hugs close to the trees, giving everything an aura of blue-gray. A warm cuppa clasped in my hands does the duty of keeping me awake and focused on the task at hand: witnessing Grianstad an Gheimhridh (the winter solstice) sunrise.
As the dawn descends upon the world, the shade goes from blue-gray to pale gray. The sun has some time yet until it has pierced the horizon above the hilly land. Geese take their first flight of the morn and the crow speaks of the day, as my heart sings the praises of Grian, of my ancestors and of those fellow few who walk this path with me.
Yet, despite the sunrise here, my mind cannot help but travel o’er the ocean to Brú na Bóinne (Newgrange) of Ireland, which just six hours ago the rays of Griannan / An Grían Béag (‘the little sun’) pierced the tunnel of the tomb. A song from the Carmina Gadelica (#316) comes to mind:
Fàilte ort féin, a ghrian nan tràth,
‘S tu siubhail ard nan speur;
Do cheumaibh treun air sgéith nan ard,
‘S tu màthair àigh nan reul.
Thu laighe sìos an cuan na dìth
Gun dìobhail is gun sgàth,
Thu ‘g éirigh suas air stuagh na sìth,
Mar rìoghain òg fo bhlàth.
(I welcome you, sun of the seasons,
As you travel the skies aloft;
Your steps are strong on the wing of the heavens,
You are the glorious mother of the stars.
You descend into the deadly sea
Without distress and without fear;
You rise up on the wave of peace,
Like a youthful Queen in bloom.)
May we all descend each night into the deadly sea without distress and fear, and rise with light upon our paths.
Meán Geimhridh Shona daoibh!