You know how it is.
Some days you just wake up in one of those moods!
For no apparent reason everything feels wrong, out of sorts and prickly.
After grumping my way through another wet, dreary, Sydney morning, I slunk off to the Art Gallery of NSW for one last peek at The Lady and the Unicorn exhibition.
Beauty always helps.
As does a walk.
Especially if that walk includes the sun finally breaking through the grey clouds, making the leaves sparkle and glisten like little green diamonds.
It was then that I realised that today was the Winter Solstice.
The shortest day of the year.
The beginning of the astronomical winter.
Oh woe is me!
The six coldest weeks of the year still lie ahead of us.
The solstice officially occurs in Sydney at 8:07pm.
Our day will only be 9:53:50 hrs long - a whole 4hr 31mins shorter than the Summer Solstice.
I've been thinking that we need to reinstate or establish some kind of warming ritual to make this short day/long night more enjoyable.
The Japanese celebrate by soaking in a hot bath with yuzu fruit, the English gather at Stonehenge to watch the sunrise, the Koreans eat red bean porridge and the Irish gather at Newgrange to see a shaft of sun light up an ancient burial chamber. At Casey Station, in the Australian Antarctic Division, they cut a hole in the ice and leap in briefly before retiring into a mobile hot spa. In Hobart, for Dark Mofo, the brave and foolish go for a nude solstice swim!
Maybe we could start National Doona Day - when we go to bed early and snuggle up with the ones we love under the covers?
Or we could bring back firecracker night - light a huge bonfire and let off catherine wheels?
Or perhaps we could simply speak a word of kindness.
Where and how will you be celebrating today's solstice?