A midwinter's day

This time last year I was in southern Tasmania, experiencing the winter Solstice in all its glory.  The days were short, with the sun barely visible until late morning.  When it finally rose in the sky, it was shrouded by a thin veil of fog.  Everywhere the landscape took on an ethereal beauty, as though from the pages of a Bronte novel.  I cherished those cold, dark winter days.  Whilst the countryside seemingly lay dormant under the heavy cloak of winter, it couldn't have been more vibrant and alive.  The scenery truly captivated me as it is so unlike anything we have on the mainland where I live, further north in the perpetually sunny state of Queensland.  I found the Tasmanian landscape hauntingly beautiful.  Its colour palette was soft and muted, as was the light which, when it managed to break through the fog, gave a gentle cast of silver to all it touched.

Today I find myself spending the solstice here at home in Queensland.  The morning started off cold enough, with a crisp bite to the air that stung the cheeks and numbed fingers, but eventually it warmed up with the sun rising high in the clear blue sky.  Thanks to some controlled burning yesterday in and around the hinterland surrounding us, there remains a haze which lingers on the horizon and the smell of wood smoke is in the air.  Since lunch, the clouds have rolled-in and the sky has turned grey.  As I type this, small droplets of rain are beginning to sprinkle down and the winds have picked up all around me.

Tonight, as we hunker down indoors whilst the temperature drops outside, the fire is lit and I'm about to start cooking a wild mushroom risotto for dinner.  I can't think of a better way to spend a cold winter's night than sitting by the fire, with a glass of wine and enjoying something comforting to eat.

While I look forward to the longer days ahead, I only wish I could preserve these lovely winter days for just a little longer.

Wishing you all a happy Solstice.

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