Every weekday morning, I walk my daughter down to the bus.
It's always a lovely moment for us, when we get a bit of time to ourselves, without phones, emails and family distractions. And at this time of the year, it is particularly special as our journey, starting at 8am, sees the first delights of the sun - if it is to be seen at all of course.
And with so few leaves on the trees, this horizontal light comes streaming right into the forest floor that we walk through. Revealing last year's nests high in the boughs above, and the shuffling squirrels turfing up their autumn stashes. Gorgeous.
Yesterday, Nikki was up early and came with us to start the day well.
Upon our return we had a discussion of how things suddenly feel different - something in the light, or the air, or the tree shoots, or indeed the snowdrops and daffodil spears making their way up through their wintery bed of leaf litter.
And I just realised that it is of course Imbolc - the Gaelic calendar point marking the start of spring. And it's bang on time.
My predisposition to wondering if the bulbs are coming up too early, and the presumption that nature must be very confused because of global warming, etc.. I can let it all go.
Apparently all is just as it should be. Again !
But the knowledge that Imbolc is upon us has shifted something for me personally.
I was just sitting with a friend, in the process of describing a lull I am experiencing. A cloud of depressive energy that is washing through me these last few days. My mind was trying to pin it down to stresses, etc. But my dear, wise friend pointed to the time of year.
This is the lowest it gets. The deepest, darkest, wettest. Furthest from the summer, from the sun, and from the warm dry seasons of joy. If there is a time of the year to feel low, it will be now Dao.
So, this longing to retreat under the duvet with a good woman and a movie - it is allowed. It's not very productive, but it's an understandable response.
What I would really love myself right now is what all these coming retreat guests are about to receive - a week being looked after !
Retreating into their shell to dream the seeds for the coming spring, so that when it arrives they have all the energy they need to plant and sow and water them in to being.
If you're feeling low. Feeling withdrawn. Feeling like you need a nest, come get what you're looking for.
Don't leave it until the spring or summer's energies are pulling against you.
Come now, while you can truly rest.