Its dark at 7:00 am. Thinking back in the near past of summer, I remember that by this time I had gone for a swim, put the cows in the barn, walked through the garden, weeded, and made my second cup of coffee.
This time the winter, we walk the 4ft to the wood shed, make up the fire, and manage to get the coffee made. Period.
At this time of year, we trudge towards that mark that is the Solstice. The 21st of December. The point in the year when we finish our trip into the darkness, and begin to walk outwards towards the growing season. Each year, we are convinced we can see the change in the light on January 3rd. When we have officially gained no more than a minuet and a half of daylight. But after 7 am darkness for weeks on end, we are sure we can see it. Placebo effect. Probably.
At the end of December we can digest the fact that we have finished 30 of the 60 coldest days of the year. We start to form an opinion about the winter. We have gathered 30 percent of our experiential evidence with which to pass judgment on the winter of 2012 -2013. We start to formulate the vocabulary to talk about the winter. Was it Icy? Cold? Harsh? Easy? Hard? Mild?
The Steel gray light of a weak sun starts to fill in the tree line on the ridge, and makes it bearable to go out and start the chores. The cows have been in the barn for the night, as they are for every night until March or April. The time when life starts earlier and brighter each day, with the walks on the land, the starts to smell of life again.