June 21: the longest night of the year

It’s officially midwinter. Seasonally, my European ancestors would be celebrating the turning of the year now – Christmas and New Years, the rebirth of the sun-god from the snow and the darkness. There would be feasts, animals which couldn’t be kept and fed through the rest of winter and the spring would be slaughtered and eaten, along with pickles and beer and wine, and the cold-stored fruit and winter vegetables form the cellars.


I’ve already held one midwinter celebration, and I’m attending another this weekend. But in the meantime in between, I think a  little feasting is in order. We don’t have any livestock which we can’t feed through the winter and spring, and winter is actually the more fertile season here, but feasting is also good for warding off any hint of Seasonal Affective Disorder, which we’re all subject to in these months of short days and long nights. Especially working a day job in an office, you often don’t see the sun all day – you drive each way in the dark, and watch for kangaroos on the roads as the sun rises or sets.


So tonight, we feast. Roast pork with apple sauce, roast potatoes, and delicious live-culture pickles (purchased this time around, not home-made, although I may try to start some pickles later in the week since it is good weather for it). We would have had fresh sourdough bread, but I forgot to make dough this morning. The sourdough starter is loving the cold weather, although I’m unsure how it’ll cope with summer; we’ll see when we get there. Instead there may have to be sourdough waffles for dessert, with plum jam to remind us of the flavours of summer. We’ll sit and watch the stars and appreciate how fortunate we are to be sitting in a warm, safe place, with plentiful food and all the opportunities we could want.


And just in case we forget – even for a moment – that spring is around the corner now, some of the excess jacaranda and Poinciana seeds that I planted direct in the ground in the woods have sprouted. I ran out of seed trays and paper cups to plant them in when I was planting, so the rest of the seeds simply went into the ground – and now they’re growing happily in all the little hollows and dimples where I planted them. I hope they grow strong and fast, and send their roots down far enough to reach water and survive the summer. One day not too many years from now they’ll be tall and green, covered with blue and red flowers and putting out graceful leaves to give feathery shade to the ground. 🙂 Trees make me happy.