Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Marked by an anticipated snowfall in the mountains, winter has finally arrived here on the South Island of Aotearoa.  It briefly snowed today in Dunedin, however it did not stick to the ground.  I have been told it rarely does.   
We found some snow on the hills above
Dunedin this weekend
Despite colder temperatures and longer nights, something about winter here just doesn't have me convinced, which makes me happy and a bit sad at the same time.  When night falls or the days are grey and rainy, winter here is literally lackluster in comparison to the Alaskan winter I have become used to. No fairy/christmas lights adorned trees and houses as the hours of darkness increased and marked that the longest night was growing near.
Looking toward the train station from the octagon
Then again, I have to remind myself that over the past many years living in Alaska, winter has become something I have come to think about as a phase of the year I must work hard to endure.  As winter approaches each year I make many promises to myself:  increase my consumption of vitamin D, go outside while it is light out for at least 15 minutes every day and try to expose some part of my skin to the sun, exercise to decrease the degree of depression I was bound to experience, socialize with friends even though everyone would rather stay cozied up at home like myself, and so on.  
This is what our winter days have looked like lately.  This is a photo
from the farmer's market a few weeks ago that takes place every Saturday.
Winter here has been sunnier and at times warmer than summer was both here and in Alaska.  Winter has been a treat in this way.  Just yesterday I ate my lunch outside in the sunshine!  However, when the sun goes down and the temperatures fall along with it, I do miss the natural and manufactured brightness of winter.  Snow and holiday lighting makes everything lighter and brighter.
One of the many paper lanterns paraded at the mid-winter festival
So, when I read a flyer in a coffee shop a couple months ago about a mid-winter carnival I took note.  It took place a couple Sunday nights ago in the center of town (known as the octagon).  Hundreds of paper lanterns and costumes were crafted with a creatures of the night theme in order to be lit up and paraded around the center of town.  It was a very chilly evening and we were warmed by this display, the many fire pits dotted around, the sound of a local band, and by yummy wintery foods and mulled wine sold at various stalls throughout the octagon.  For the evening, winter at it's best, was created in Dunedin and it was magic!  Here are some more photos from the festival.
The start of the procession!
A spider!
A weta lantern.  They are like large grasshoppers that live in caves.


Molly said...

It's so nice to hear your thoughts on winter in this post - I'm also enjoying it and grateful that it's been so nice out but I SO miss a "real" winter with snow and Christmas lights. :) I'm going to try to get involved in making those lanterns next year if I remember in time to get in there!

Cate said...

your photos are amazing as aways. I learn so much just by listening to you. thank you I so very proud of you! ♥ mom