Winter Solstice

Tis the yeares midnight” (John Donne)

Winter solstice. A wind-swept night monitored by a little owl. Dawn breaks (barely) to a world now tilting towards midsummer.

The festival site – the gardens of Boldshaves (Mr Bold’s “shave” of woodland) – stands stark. Calm. Cast an eye over six months to come – boot-sucking clay kiln-fired to something like rock, herbaceous borders brimful. Enter: nightingale, marsh frog, hawk moth… wild boar? Staking claims through a shifting floor of primrose, anemone, bluebell…

A stroke before midsummer – 18 to 19 June 2016 – a wandering explorer arrives. It announces itself as the Wealden Literary Festival and howls at the moon. It recalls this place, its rhythms, patterns, people.

It asks us – wide-eyed – to stop and pause and think and sing. To treasure it.