It’s dark out, again. The wind whips round treeless streets as thin rain stabs horizontally at the skin. Your face, smothered in various woollen wares, is almost recognisable. Instead of smiling at strangers in the street, you simply exchange dragon-like curls of breath as a parting gesture. You count down the days to the winter solstice, and then again to spring.

This is our habit, our routine, to make the frost of winter a little less icy. 

It’s so easy to bemoan the cold, to predicate the pitfalls of June. However, there are a lot of us that find a comfort in the routine of putting that final layer on before leaving the house. Taking pride in knowing which pubs boast the best log fireplaces and the smallest, least up-to-date televisions. Propped at the most awkward position above the bar. The charm of winter is not lost on me. How can you come in from the cold, if it isn’t cold to begin with?

The days are short, our bellies are full… of soup. The skies darken, as does the beer. The sparsely populated streets throw a cloak of invisibility over the hustle and bustle hidden in every bar, pub and restaurant throughout the city. Yet, there is an indefinable quality that imbues winter with a wicked magic. It’s a smell of wood-fire wafting through the air and the sparkle of a winter sun on frostbitten leaves. It’s the hanging of a friend’s coat for them at the front door and following your welcoming hug with the offer of a piping hot beverage. 

Some days you will miss the setting of the sun all together. You are greeted with an inky canvas at both the foot of the day, as well as when it draws to a close. There is a heady mystery that comes with the eternal darkness. June is a month when the sky is an unreliable indicator of time. It could be 6am or 6pm, but peering out of the window will not help you figure it out.

It is the middle of yet another year. Beachside jaunts are replaced by forested haunts. Cricket replaced by footy. Budgie smugglers replaced by thermals.

Sundays are for roasts, popping in and out of art galleries. Wet weather days are for spending in the cinema. For pints in bars where the lighting is as dim as it is outside and leaving to brave the cold is on nobody’s mind.

Music touches the ears differently during winter months. Sadder notes are reflected with more strength. The whimsy of summer is ousted by listless melancholia. Travelling the footpaths, hunched into your big coat, wondering whether a warm respite is near.

The magic of the colder months are taken for granted. Yes, you enjoy complaining about how cold it is outside, but don’t worry. Come December you can complain about the heat.

George Davies

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