I am in love with this time of year. Even the shorter days and the cold, pouring rains that keep me indoors have a magical feeling. I love how the natural world has become spare and unembellished, and how daylight begins to darken at 3:00, fading into a hundred shades of grey and white, delicate and precise and beautiful. I know I'm supposed to crave hot sandy beaches and coconuts right now, but the truth is, I'd rather wrap myself up in a long wooly scarf and splash though the streets of my city in search of my journey's reward: a thick, white ceramic cup full of hot dark chocolate. I love the bright pop of a clementine half peeled on my dinner plate and the glittery sparkle of my Christmas tree. It's roasted chestnut season so I make a special trip to the Japanese mall where they sell them piping hot, wrapped in paper cones. At night I burn candles scented with fir and bake endless trays of cookies, balancing the dark with warmth and sweet sustenance.
I try to imagine sitting down to a plate full of ripe tomatoes or some fresh peas straight from the garden and find there's no appeal there. But show me a hunk of well-cured salami, or a cool glass of fresh-pressed cider or a pan of crispy-fried Brussels sprouts and I'm ravenous, tucking in like half-starved lumberjack.
It's solstice time soon (December 21, 11:38pm, UTC). Time to allow the quiet darkness to work its magic, to dig deep, slow down and do the work that can only be done in this fallow time. May you know the joys and depths of this season and may you and everyone, without exception, know peace.