Ten years ago we were living in our last apartment; the following spring we moved in with a friend for a couple of months prior to buying and moving into our house. For some reason, I've always retained good, clear memories of being in that apartment: the placement of the Isis shrine in front of the living room window, my personal senut shrine in the office/ritual room, things we did and saw while we lived there. It was while we were living there that I took my RPD and my shemsu vows. I started taking belly dance lessons then, though I ended up finding another teacher after we moved, which led to my dancing with the troupe for several years after. I remember that Yule in particular very distinctly; our apartment was on the far left side of the complex, with a line of large evergreen trees veiling us from the street and the pleasant-looking little neighborhood beyond. There was snow that year, and I went out among those evergreens and harvested a few boughs with my boline to decorate the Yule log that adorned our altar. Why that particular memory is so vivid, I couldn't say; but there it is, and there it has been for a decade.
And so now it seems both odd and appropriate that we're back in the same complex, though not in the same apartment. The home ownership experiment is now at an end, and I'm still processing that*; but now I'm back in a lovely, snug (as in one bedroom!) apartment in a complex with every amenity I could ever want, five minutes away from the nicest ice rink in the region, bookstores and libraries and all good things just a short drive from my door. The shift in my life that began in earnest quite literally at Samhain has brought me around to Yule very near that place of which I had such fond associations. There is a deciduous tree (a Maple) beyond my balcony now, rather than evergreens, but it was spectacularly aflame the day we first viewed the apartment (November 1st). I no longer have my Witches Cottage, or the more ample square footage of crap-storage space that the house afforded us, and we have given away truckloads of stuff: to the Goodwill, to a friend who now has the best-stocked pagan shop in town, to storage in my mom's attic, to a reenactor friend who now has furnishings for the 1811 house he's converting to shop space. It's quite bizarre how things progressed so neatly along with the natural cycle of decay beginning near the autumnal equinox, crashing down at Samhain, the dark period following filled with cleanup and mourning, and now we're just past the solstice and both literally and figuratively starting to see some light again. And once the dust has settled and the holidays are past (my birthday is a week and a half off, if you haven't started your shopping yet), I'll be back on the ice for the first time in nearly two years. That is, if I haven't expired from delayed stress reactions by then.
At this time of year, I celebrate both as a generally druidy-pagany sort as well as a Kemetic; Yuletide with mead and Scotch and all the trappings you'd expect, and also the Return of the Distant Goddess. Hathor's return this year has never been sweeter, or more welcome. Dua Hethert, and happy Yule. :)
* by which I mean ignoring it and not dealing with it.