Lea Kendall is a councillor and co-founder of Woodland Classroom, delivering nature connection, bushcraft, wellbeing and forest school in North Wales. She is also the co-author of Your Wild Food Year, an online course aimed at beginners to foraging.
I sit on the edge of the fire circle on Midwinter’s eve. Surrounded by my community; families, friends and strangers. Celebrating this time of year together. A time for gratitude, reflection, shared stories, shared food, warmth and light amongst the darkest turn of the wheel. We light many candles, string up fairy lights, cut ribbons for the Wishing Tree, set trails of glow lamps for children to follow. Upon a large tree stump sits a spiral of candles, each ready to be lit whilst families set intentions for the year ahead. The mandolin plays folk melodies while we sit watching the dancing flames, bright and hot from the birch logs. We drink hot spiced apple juice, share popcorn, roasted chestnuts and warming hazelnuts. Empty nut shells are cast over our shoulders to fall behind us.
A friend and archaeologist shares an insight that creates such a profound moment for me. He tells us of ancient settlements rediscovered, where a similar scene has been unearthed by careful trowels. Evidence of a gathering, a campfire and charred hazelnut shells discarded close by. This circle of people; sharing, eating, keeping warm by the fire, thousands of years past, doing exactly as we are, perhaps even at the same time of year! This magical moment sends shivers down my spine. I feel so very connected to my ancestors, as if they are standing right behind me, generations past, all a part of me and the result of so much love.
A Connection To Midwinter’s Past © Lea Kendall 2022