As in earlier sessions , today we are using

  • writing implements of your choice (colours are good);
  • your ThoughtBook

A fortnight ago at Spring Equinox , Beloved – managing his own self-isolation 600 miles south – observed: “Yesterday I had longer days than you, and tomorrow your days [in northern Scotland] will be longer than mine.”

Truly I am aware of changes in light already (though it’s wintry at 58 degress north, with gale and hail).

Other parts of the world have their own variations from the equal days and nights of Aequi-noctium – except in the Tropics, where day and night are of roughly equal length throughout the year, and have a rapid sunrise and sunset, so different from the quarter-year twilight in the ultimate Polar regions.

Winter solstice in mid-Wales: Tywyn, 2016

[Or so I am told, never having travelled further south than Bern, Switzerland nor north than Orkney. Where are your furthest points south and north on this Earth?]

Yesterday a friend reminded me of a poem I wrote in 1994, which speaks of the same cabin-fever that many will be feeling right now, and finding relief outdoors:


... when suddenly
would rather be out among them
than in the enclosing humid heat of home,

when outside is an awakening, stretching universe:
sunlight filtering askance through dust;
trebling of bird outbursts;
benign stirrings of worm in earth.

and now there can be no holding back,
no pause, no hesitation,

but out here,
out here, out here,
breathing steadily with the others.

© Kathy McVittie 10 February 1994

Checking in with changing daylength. Complete these prompts using free-flow writing: no holds barred. A few words or a hundred, each time. Allow yourself at least ten minutes, maybe much longer.

Today I am feeling …

Tomorrow I hope to be feeling …

Yesterday I noticed that …

Tomorrow I expect that …

Already I’m excited that …

Vernal Equinox sky and beach at Brora, Sutherland 2020

Now look back over your words; read them aloud/allowed. Give yourself time to inhabit what you’ve written, and perhaps detect that you’ve opened up, moved on, in the very process of word-letting.

Have you been able to let go of anything in the telling? Might you be able to use an exercise as a Brain Dump?

Has anything you’ve written really hit the sweet spot for you, or touched the point of “grateful pain”?

Where in your body are you sensing that, right now? If you can, I invite you to sit with that for a moment, becoming aware of softening your internal gaze as you breathe gently into the sensations.

Reflection If you have the time later today, you might do the exercise again, noticing how different (or similar?) your responses are this time.

Finding a Golden Thread Go back to my poem, and highlight or [square bracket] any phrase or word that spoke to you, or

read through your Check-in/Braindump responses, and highlight or [bracket] any particularly juicy phrases and ideas, or

jot down [in a blue-sky box] any memory that has been triggered.

Now we can use any of these findings, or any of the prompts below, as a Golden Thread to follow into writing, for at least a quarter of an hour.

It can be reflective, internal or personal; or a fragment of your life story; or the best submission you’ve never made to that elite magazine.

It can be sad (I often cry when I re-read my own navel gazing); or so funny that you have to share it with the postman’s aunt tomorrow; or it can be boring, dull and dreary, like a dreich day in Lockdown or Lockmaddy.

Preview(opens in a new tab)

Say it as it is, or scribble it like it might be, like it never was, like it cannot have been…

… fantasy; tragedy; blank verse; worse; better; a wish-you-were-here letter to the Paramour…

and here are the extra prompts to thread into the tapestry of writing our way whole at home with whatever daylength:

found fishing fibre, Tywyn, Gwynedd

You choose

Go write!

by April, we could play outside after school, after teatime...

the birdsong awoke me at dawn and...

the growl of the first lawwnmover & tang of cut grass...

the emergence of life accelerated...

although the streets were empty, by six o'clock...

sunset time followed a flowing arc along the calendar of the Scandinavian year...

in Antartica, the daylength had further to grow than at the Equator, so...

looking forward to May and the festival of Beltane...

Overflow activities if you wish to continue

Leaf through an old magazine and rip out pictures with sky in them.

What time of day/year do you think is depicted? How did you decide that?

What happened next?

Go write!

,And finally, recalling what today has offered to you, and how you’ve responded, complete these appreciations, using a bullet point of your choice for three items, on three separate lines.

Today I am grateful for

There will be an opportunity to revisit these as the weeks progress, so remember to date today’s pages!

{ Go well until next week }