Don’t let the sun fool you, winter is nigh
Mother Nature flipped the summer switch firmly into the OFF position a fortnight ago, and suddenly, the temperature dipped 10 degrees.
Those of you with double glazing may not have noticed yet, so please be advised: winter is coming.
It’s always a small triumph to make it through March without lighting the fire.
That first match struck is like breaking the seal on the creeping winter, and it’s nice to put that off for as long as possible.
My partner juggles the wood supply with the exacting dexterity of a Tetris player, stacking and reshuffling, advising me from which end to load the wood box, which hardwood to combine with the fastburning pine, and which precious mound we are to keep for the long icy nights in July.
Sometimes I catch him standing on the deck, gazing at the wood stack with the same intensity one usually reserves for a complex, compelling piece of art.
The days are shortening and the temperature is dipping, but this is still Motueka, so the sun shines on.
By lunchtime, the kids are playing naked with the hose in the sandpit. Children have a wonderful ability to stretch summer out by an extra couple of months at each end of the season. I admire their hardiness, but don’t bother to compete.
The slippers and jackets have already been unearthed. For my first few years here, the cooler months caught me off-guard.
South Otago gives a much more honest representation of the temperature when you look out of the window, but here, a clear blue sky looks a lot like summer to those unaccustomed to the Motueka seasons.
I would head out of the house woefully underdressed for the bright, biting cold and would shiver all day with a fan heater parked on my toes in the High Street office, cursing the sneaky sunshine that persuaded me to leave that extra layer at home.
Motueka doesn’t have much of an off-season any more, with the town’s vibrancy and population holding steady for much longer than when I moved here 10 years ago.
The small lull of calm that begins in autumn still holds a little reprieve from summer’s sensory overload. It’s like an exhalation, and that makes it worth lighting the fire.
So we may not get the Night King and his fun bunch of undead party-goers, and no one is running around saying winter is coming, but winter is coming.