To be in southern Tasmania on mid winter Solstice is to experience this dark season in all its stark beauty. The leaves have long fallen from the trees, leaving grey green skeletons of wooden life that although without covering, remain magnificent in their dormancy. The nights are of particular darkness, duration and depth.
A crescent moon, fleetingly seen in the mist and cloud. A cold wind that that finds its way into every crack and warp of this wooden yurt. The wind has a pitched whistle tonight. The fire seems not as hot as it was a month ago. I sit closer just to feel a tepid heat. The water in the taps is a cold sharp pain on bare skin. The chill remains long after my hands have dried.
Snow still sits unmelted on the hill a hundred metres above. Frost remains from dawn till dusk, only to grow thicker with each passing day. Less forest animals come out at night nowadays. My sleep time friend the Mopoke Owl is silent. No possums scrapping with each other. Not an insect to be seen. The kitchen mouse has fled to lower warmer kitchens down the hill.
Winter does not pretend. Winter in its cold stark presence fills all the senses. Winter’s memories are able to reach into our night time wakefulness, even on a summers night. But it is an honest season and real. This is what winter truly is. It is cold, it cannot be evaded. It is full of dark and eery sounds. One can only pretend to hide from it in our clothing layers and beanies.
It has chill presence that seems to find a toe hold in the darkest most primal places in our psyche…