The afternoon of the Solstice the skies cleared and the air warmed. Families and friends gathered at the Newton Seniors Centre in a beautiful open event room. Floor to ceiling windows looked out onto the snowy trees.
One end of the room held craft tables. On one of the tables two strands of prayer flags, loving stitched together by a member of the PLOT community, waited for folks to add their prayers and kind intentions.
Another table held beautiful origami cranes and other creatures created by a Newton community member. He was generously teaching people to fold their own origami to take home.
Yet another table was piled with adornments for the Christmas Tree, and the Tree was soon made magic with strings of popcorn, rounds of wood sliced from the trunk from another Christmas tree, seed pods and pine cones covered in peanut butter and bird seed for the winter birds, and shining bright red crab apples that emanated pure joy.
When sunset drew near, the community proceeded to the Medicine Wheel for a candlelight lantern ceremony led by our Cree Elder Grandma Amy, Manchus S’Kwao. Earthworm Woman. Her heart and spirit reached out to all gathered and her teachings gave us much to dream on.
With the closing of the circle folks returned to the warmth of the Seniors Centre for feasting, laughter and conversation. The children played, and connections were made with new folks who had ventured out to see what the PLOT was all about!
Lastly the Christmas tree was ceremoniously paraded down the street to the PLOT, held aloft by two dedicated PLOT volunteers, followed by other PLOT’ers, while another helper with the flame alight in his lantern, led the way.
The Tree looked magnificent tied to the Peace Pole in the centre of the Medicine Wheel, with candles lighting the four directions. The Tree was left to stand through the holidays, to remind us of our connection with nature, and in a very small way, by feeding the birds, to give back a little to the whole.
The prayer flags were hung at the east entrance to the Medicine Wheel to whisper their words of peace, wonder and goodwill into the stillness of the snowy winter night and to greet the return of the light.