The nights are bearing down on us. By 4.30 pm we’re driving with our lights on, and by 5.30 pm, the street-lights are on, and the long winter night has arrived. It’s a time for hunkering down, for hiding inside from the cold, the wind, and rain, for hearty winter casseroles and gutsy red wines, for comfort food and good books, good music, and yes even good TV. When we do venture out, it feels like more of an effort; by the time the car has warmed up and the heater is effective, I’m at my destination, thinking eagerly of the hot coffee, or warm wine bar where we’re meeting. The mornings are tough; the house is cold, and it is still dark when we rise. It feels so much earlier than it really is. And in the evenings, it feels as if it should be bed-time when it is only 8 pm. Hibernation seems like a good idea right about now.
Right now I know my northern hemisphere friends are out enjoying warm sunny days, barbecues and cool drinks, light mornings, and long evenings. They’re soaking up the Vitamin D, instead of wondering about supplements, they’re (I hope) shading from too much sun, rather than forgetting what it looks like, they’re eating salads not stews, enjoying sun-ripened tomatoes (drool), and enjoying New Zealand sauvignon blanc, not syrah or merlot. Life is outside, not inside by the computer, explaining why so many of them have gone AWOL from the internet at the moment. Winter is harder when it feels as if 80% of the earth is enjoying summer. Misery loves company. And company is having too much fun in the sun. So right now, I feel the division of the equator acutely.
But tomorrow, the sun decides it might just return to us, and the light will be here just that little longer. Yes, we still have a long cold winter ahead of us, the coldest still to come. But then there will be spring. What happens after that I don’t know. After last year I can’t look forward to a long, hot summer with any confidence. But the prospect of spring and summer holds promise, holds hope.