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Winter Music: The Irony of Harsh Darkness and Cozy Delight

It’s winter.  Even here in Andalusia, the nights are bitterly cold, and the rain we got at the beginning of the week soaked through my bones and practically froze me.  It’s time for big pots of chili and hot cocoa.  Now that the holidays are over, we can get thoroughly immersed in the winter-ness of winter.  The long cold nights.  The snow.

I used to hate this time of year.  It seemed so depressing.  Christmas was over.  There wasn’t much to look forward to but freezing rain, snow, and seasonal depression.

Somewhere along the line, I changed my ideas about January, and started embracing the darkness.

This is a time for hibernation.  For quiet long evenings reading.  There’s no need to be outside, and so I don’t feel guilty for letting my daughter have too much screen time while I cuddle with her.  This is a time for wearing flannel pj’s.  For staying in.  For daydreaming.

And, since we’re on the last day of the Octave of Epiphany right now, I think it’s an appropriate time to start to really hunker down.  The decorations are down, the Christmas cookies have been eaten, and we can get on with Operation Coziness.

Part of that  means having great music, and I discovered this recording, Winter’s Delight by the Quadriga Consort on the Millennium of Music program, of which I am a proud subscriber.  The Quadriga Consort is an early music group that started fifteen years ago performing music for recorders, but has branched out to include arrangements of early folk songs from the British Isles.

I really like this album.  It’s a bit more celtic-y than I normally would check out on my own, but I love the mix of Christmas music, plus general folksy-sounding music that seems like I could listen to it all winter long without being sick of it.

I’m off to Lindisfarne next week – Holy Island, the first monastery in England, in Northumberland.  It’s a terrible time to go to the wilds of  Northumberland on an island in the north Atlantic to wander through thousand year old ruins in the abbreviated daylight.  But I think, like this music, it’s a perfect time and place for quiet reflection without the bustling of all the tourists and being sidetracked by the bounty of summer.  There won’t be much to be distracted by.  Just me and my best friend and the ruins, talking to us and telling us their stories.

I’m going to be listening to this music on the train up.  It seems like the perfect soundtrack for the quiet adventures of winter.