This year it's been a little different. I've had a couple of pretty bad days but in the main, I've been able to live with the huge weight of SADness - an overwhelming grief for something unknown really. I live with it by constantly repeating the mantra: this will pass, the colour and light will come back into my world. And by reminding myself of how many days it is until the longest night, until the days start getting longer again and the nights shorter. It is, in fact, just a week away: seven more nights, seven more days.
A couple of days ago, when the weight of the grief of the entire world seemed so heavy I could hardly walk, I took my camera and went, slowly, looking for colour in my life. This is what I found:
The arctotis my friend Jenny recommended glow through the darkest of winter.
This wind battered plant has both red berries and small yellow flowers at the same time!
The gorse may be a weed, but as well as acting as an excellent nursery plant, it brightens my days.
The bottlebrush provides colour but also food for the bees and bumble bees.
'Spring' bulbs - such optimism!
Tagasaste - a magic tree: provides food for bees, other insects, birds, goats, wind shelter, and at the end, really hot burning firewood for a future winter.
and the first grape hyacinth.
One of our banks is covered with what was originally a small root from my mother-in-law's garden.
It's been icy-cold but windy so no frosts yet to wipe the smiles from the nasturtiums.
The magic of pinus radiata - these glorious fungi.
Even the ugliest grey warty pumpkin
And the blackest of skies hold a promise.