In the middle of summer, all we wish for is winter. However when winter comes, there are days when you never want to leave the warm covers of your bed and you recall the distant warm summer days. Sticking your nose over the top of the blankets, the cold nips at it, driving you back into the depths of the covers.
Clear winter mornings come with air so crisp it feels as though you could take a bite out of it. Sparkling white frost coats every blade of grass and flower stem, crunching underfoot when you walk outside. The sunlight glints on every droplet of frozen water, creating the grey paddock of pre-dawn to a field of glittering diamonds.
When the cold wind blows, the bare limbs of the liquid amber rattle eerily. The last leaves that have fallen get whisked away leaving the lawn empty and devoid of colour. It’s always exciting to find troughs of water or puddles that have a slick thin coating of ice on them. Running fingers over the frozen, fragile surface, the warmth of my skin eventually breaks through the thin layer, plunging my hand into the icy water, deadening fingers. We wonder at the thought of snow; and hope to go somewhere this time where we will catch a fleeting glimpse of the miracle. It never snows where we live, and we marvel at thoughts of it being referred to in feet.
Chores outside take preparation. Bundling up inside thick flannelette shirts, jumpers, and coats, plus warm hats (beanies) we brave the cold to get some fresh air. When we were milking a cow, we would pour boiling water from the hot water system on our rubber boots to warm our cold feet. Usually though, our feet would brave the frosts; running outside to do chores as quickly as possible without any boots or shoes. This would often see us tearing into the house at a run to thrust numbed, frozen feet under hot water in the bathtub, wailing and groaning over the tingly pain of feeling returning. We never learn.
Winter is fires season, where there is no danger of bushfires. We spend hours heaping up sticks, logs, and rubbish to make a bonfire. When it is finally lit, the flames reach to the sky; a tower of flickering fire against a backdrop of black sparkling sky. The fire is so large that it warms the ground in a large radius, giving us the chance to run around barefooted without worrying about the cold. Hats are pulled over eyes, and hands are drawn inside sleeves against the heat as we strive to poke sticks into the blaze. Once alight, we run through the darkness with lighted sticks as banners, showering sparks and lights everywhere like homemade sparklers. Sword fights with blazing sticks break out, causing laughter when one’s “sword” finally breaks in half leaving the defender defenceless.
On weekends, winter becomes a reader’s best friend, for one can sit in front of the fire in the living room with a hot cup of something to read. There has been many a time I relish curling up on the lounge in a warm room with something hot and sweet to dive into the world of literature. Winter also brings out half finished projects once began long ago. Out come the knitting needles and wool, trying desperately to finish a scarf before the winter’s end, which is always a mystery. We never wear scarves.
Though we welcome the cool change, it isn’t long before we look towards the spring; where warmer weather will come again.