Two days ago it was mild and sunny.
That's Melbourne for you!
Every year since I was young, I've suffered from Seasonal Adjustment Disorder once the weather turned dark and cold. Every year I've dreaded winter.
Oddly enough, I don't remember feeling this way when I lived in Iceland or Norway for all those years. In Iceland it may have been because the thermometer never rose above 15 degrees celsius anyway. In recent years they've had heat waves of 22 and 25 degrees with elderly people expiring in the heat, but when I was younger these temperatures were unheard of.
Norway was different, being more mainland, even though it borders the Atlantic. The winters were colder, but not as windy (so more tolerable) and the summers were quite warm with highs in the early 30s at the peak of summer - and I do remember odd weeks of 35 degree heat here and there, too.
Maybe I didn't suffer because I was too young to really project the length of the cold and the dark in my mind, I was too occupied with boys and music!
Last night I watched 4Corners about Anders Behring Breivik and was transported to my youth. I never went to Utøya, but every summer I did go to the Salvation Army Congress which included a youth camp. The camp on Utøya reminded me very much of my teen summers spent at rallies.
I still feel horror at what I saw on my screen last night. Listening to all the interviews - many of them in various dialects of Norwegian - I found myself feeling deeply connected with these people. The language was as familiar to me as it used to be when I spoke it daily. The faces of the young people looked like many I'd known in the 80s. Seeing the streets of Oslo that I used to visit semi-regularly was a walk down memory lane.
But Norway barely resembles the country I used to know any more. So much has changed. It's grown up from its innocence all too fast.
So this morning, I feel relieved and grateful to be living in Australia where summers are long and hot and sunny. And this got me thinking about how every year I dread winter - something I never did in Norway - and how blind I've been to how lucky I really am.
The dark and cold in this country is relatively painless compared to that up north. So maybe the fact I feel it so keenly means I've become soft and spoilt? Maybe I need to embrace the cold and the dark more because it is so mild compared to what I have known and what it could be.
This winter I'm determined to find the good in winter. I'm determined to enjoy it and make the most of it. I will bring some of the Scandinavian approaches to the dark, cold months back into my life. I will light candles and I will snuggle up. I will bake and cook comfort foods. I will got for walks on crisp, dry days. I will listen to the music created by rain on the roof or dripping from the trees.
This is a Christmas table, but it reminds me of
so many tables I sat at in Norway and Iceland -
People in Scandinavia take table decorating very seriously!