A few nights ago we enjoyed one of those "spontaneous" moments. Our Papa was visiting, and another young friend, and we decided to light our open fire and roast marshmallows and chestnuts. Everyone got into the spirit of the night - collecting kindling and lighting candles. Then we sat back and relished the warm gooiness of the toasted marshmallows to the joyful popping sound of the roasting chestnuts (which by the way were buttery and good!) and the haunting tones of Loreena McKennitt. On our stove top, bubbling away all this time, was a big pot of split pea and frankfurt soup (from Nigella Lawson's Feast - food to celebrate life cookbook I was given for my birthday last year).
Afterwards we made a circle in front of the fire and had storytime....I started the story, then each person had a turn in adding to the story....this is when the magic really started....I was so moved my what came forward in the story from each person....how animated and serious each of them was; and in a way each turn revealed to me something of what is happening deep down inside of each of them right now. Our storytellers ranged in age: 6, nearly 9, just turned 11, 41 (that's me) and 85!!
It was a glorious story that involved a princess (of course) on a quest to find a mysterious light in the forest. It involved falling through a trap door, into a deep dark cave, meeting a giant bear (who was really a prince bewitched), building several shelters on the journey and gathering 12 magic crystals (from behind 12 magic doors) to release the prince from his bear-body prison. The princess in the end solved the great mystery of the mysterious light: it was really made up from the love of all human beings, and that the love gathered together would light up their way through all the darkest nights of winter (this from the nearly 9 year old).
To be honest, I totally lost track of the time, we were all of us transported into a hushed and imaginative place...like troubabours of old....I've been struggling a bit with certain things this winter, but this was just the healing balm I needed!
And the pea soup was good too!!!