It is deep winter night in the northern hemisphere. The long enduring dark winter night of the year’s true turning. Neither stars nor moon in the sky, but pale, swirling wind borne clouds and a familiar chill, a bone deep rawness. Toward England’s seaward edge, a silent village nestles upon one of those peculiar fenland rises. Atop the rise the old church, with the yet older yew is a darker shadow on the village bounds. None now recall why, on this one night of the year, in this rational age, a candle burns in a tiny east window. The candle is always lit though, as the sunlight leaves the apse.
The parson, secure in her faith, rests in her armchair. Parsonage curtains drawn tight, doors locked, hallway lit, dry wood stacked beside the burning hearthlog. A glass of fine whisky waits close to her hand. In the edge of the empty churchyard, a prunings’ bonfire. A gathering of yew and ivy, haw and holly lit at duskfall by the silently praying sexton. The dead branches smoulder still, white ash on red embers.