On Embracing the Magic of Midwinter

Winter is a gift that’s easily missed. In our disdain for the cold, our despair at the early arrival of dark, we can overlook something essential.

This is a lesson that I have to learn each year when I find myself suffocated by sudden nightfall. I long for a bold golden sun, a warm ocean, anywhere but here. At these times, I have to remind myself to breathe and accept the gifts of the season instead.

For in winter there is the thinning of a certain veil, one that hangs ivory and invisible between the seen and unseen, the known and unknown. Between the material and some deeper mystery. In other words, this is a time of enchantment, a time of the thawing of the human spirit — if we are willing.

Yet it’s all too easy to miss. Christmas is coming and you have list after list. You can’t stop for a second, the calendar doesn’t give an inch. In the flurry and rush you brush past the season’s deeper self, never really meeting it.

Yet pause for a moment on a street glazed with illuminations, a park transfigured into crystal, and a dormant part of you comes forward. You are seeing and feeling the world and in response, it sees and feels you. You are entering into the dance of enchantment, a shy waltz with the intangible.

It is an alchemy, this seasonal glamour. Leaden winter transformed into something precious. A blending of the carnival delights of Christmas, the rough, rugged wonder of Yule, the awe and promise of Noel. Each thread woven together to create the tapestry of the festive season, the tapestry of enchantment.

Christmas. Yuletide. Noel. Delight, wonder and awe. Santa Claus with his sleigh of presents. The Holly King and his bounty of berries. The Three Wise Men offering gold, frankincense and myrrh. Each element blending into one, inseparable, casting a spell that settles upon the season. A match that lights the heart.

The children sense it most deeply, this Midwinter magic, yet you can find it too. It’s there in the fairy cathedral of a frozen forest clearing. It’s there in the giving and receiving of gifts. It’s there in a kiss beneath mistletoe, in lips that taste like cinnamon and possibility.

Midwinter magic is in all these moments. And in the delicious crackle of wrapping paper, the glimmer of a cranberry candle, the lantern flicker of carol singers. And in the quiet and cold and dark, the solitary walk and the throng of shoppers.

It hangs in the air waiting for you, silent, electric and serene. Lift your fingertips and feel it. You are not who you think you are, for you stretch as high as the pearl-studded belt of Orion and as deep as the roots of the pine. You are a frozen sea that is thawing, the miracle of the season. You can reach out to strangers, you can be a living gift.

This is winter and the veil is thinning. Embrace it.

Short story writer, essayist and poet featured in various collections. My free newsletter, The Tinderbox, explores the relationship between creativity and enchantment.

Image by Aaron Burden via Unsplash.

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Short story writer, essayist and poet. Sign up to my free newsletter on creativity: thetinderbox.substack.com

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D.C. Martin

D.C. Martin

Short story writer, essayist and poet. Sign up to my free newsletter on creativity: thetinderbox.substack.com

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