This year, for the first time in decades, I have managed to stay on top of depression by being very aware of how my body is reacting to the lack of daylight. Even when I know in my head that I have so much to be grateful for, there are so many times in my life when I can't feel it in my heart, times when depression is indeed a black dog on my back, and especially in winter. I have been counting down the days until Solstice, and reminding myself that soon the days will start growing longer again. Soon the chooks will stay laying again. The spring bulbs have already got several inches of leaves showing. However the last couple of days have been so wonderfully light-filed that I don't need the passing of Solstice - I'm already feeling like I'm on the way up.
Today, I rose before dawn - which is, of course, relatively late - because my sister was staying and was going to be leaving about 8.30 to go back to Auckland.
Looking wet from our sitting room, Mt Karioi was looking glorious in the early morning sun
The goat wasn't so keen on our frosty morning.
But though the stawberry plants were edged with ice,
I found this!
Ng Tong, the cat was enjoying a roll in the sun and dust,
and the chooks were looking a lot happier than on the bedraggling rainy days earlier in the week.
The ram pump that fills the chooks' water bowl, the cow's trough and our toilets, had stopped, but the chore of having to go down to the stream in the bush to clean it out and restart it, wasn't really a chore today
because the bush was looking so very lovely with the sun filtering through .
Even though it is winter, because we live in a temperate zone, I still have a bit of colour in my garden: the native flaxes and coprosma;
the pineapple sage;
and even food - parsley by the bucketful, and look! a handful of pure sunlight to eat - Cape gooseberries.
I hoped the tagasaste would attract kereru and honey bees, but although all I see feasting in these trees are bumble bees and rosellas, I love their white flowers in the middle of winter.
I watered the hebe plants grown from cuttings that my friend Kate gave me last Wednesday when we visited her after my uncle's funeral in Whanganui. I love that my garden contains so many reminders of friends.
Bob the Dog ran away a few weeks ago, we think after being scared by nearby possum shooting neighbour. We spent a very anxious two days before Bob managed to find a car 4 km away on SH 23, and someone to drive him home. He drives us nuts some days (the cats as well, as you can see from his scratched nose) but we love him and are so glad he made it back safe and unharmed.
After all that, what a treat to sit down with a cup of tea and a piece of my sister's delicious chocolate caramel slice.
Then it was time to go into Hamilton for Jeff to get some Aussie dollars for his visit to Melbourne next week, and to sit his first university exam - maths.
Even in the carpark at The Base (Hamilton's biggest shopping centre) there were beautiful things to see.
And then while Jeff sweated through his maths exam, I spent a lovely afternoon with friends, Chantal and Cate: what could there possibly be to get depressed about?