Distractions

The Jethro Tull Christmas Album

The Jethro Tull Christmas Album (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Been studying. Quietly determined, on-line course. It’s demanding, intensive stuff, even though it may be knowledge I think I should already have. Frame of mind kind-of-thing; needing focus. Needing a longer concentration span too. An hour and a half (the length of a football match) and my brain is dried out, vulnerable to wandering thoughts.

… and the sky this morning is the colour of solid fog, of the salt-wetted hull of a de-commissioned submarine. It spits little gobs of rain as if reluctantly. Seems lacking in vitality. It is winter after all, despite the warm temperatures of recent days that have allowed digging on the plot and pleasant week-end walks.

But a tune comes into my head. I would like to say unprompted but that’s not quite true. And I allow it* to distract me. It’s Jethro Tull. Characteristically enigmatic and I delight in that. Seasonal too. The kind of traditional tune, flute and backing that work so well at this time of year (why, exactly is that?) and typify the band.

And once distracted I am taken up by it.

Familiar, yet not. Haunting the way the best Christmas songs need to be. But the lyrics have the characteristic bite too, at first concealed by the melody. Profound indeed.  Christmas as family time, even when the family may not know it. That importance of contact. Loneliness beckoning… and loneliness being hard as frozen iron nails.

… and now I can’t seem to figure out which came first.

Was I in this introspective mood when I woke up. Or has the heavy sky, the words of the song, the pressure of studying made me so. Feeling a little inadequate? Unprepared ? The time of the year, some kind  of commercial-fatigue setting in after all the TV ads and campaigns that make the Advent season both longer and less glorious.

My mood is not a grossly negative one; more thought-provoking. That dark-nights needing to think-my-way mood. The close and personal instead of  the far-travel plans of lighter, longer-sunlight days. It’s strangely usual for me at this time of year, but still uncomfortable. Some nostalgia is perhaps inevitable this darkening time of the year; looking backwards is easier than looking forwards some times and, like the song is reminding me, family and friends have moved away, moved on. Some indeed passed on and the Christmas card list echoes that carol.

But some links are strong, stronger perhaps and there are new sails on the horizon. Ships comin’ in, and ones preparing to leave.

Meanwhile in the back garden a tempest of twenty and more redwings are bombarding the holly berries, flashing into the tree, ravaging the fruit, then racing away. To return five or so minutes later and repeat the raid. They are accompanied by half a dozen starlings and between their assaults I notice our resident bullfinch couple, some meek house sparrows, a trio of greenfinches and a single goldfinch.

Seems I tidied up the bird table just in time. I remind myself I have work to do and put the binoculars down.

Digression over, back to the studying… now what was that tune again ….

* Another Christmas Song

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