the daily column

The Shortest Day

There’s something ethereal about a low, thick fog that somehow leaves the night sky mostly clear. The halos of the street lamps contrasted with the bright moon overhead as the chill really set in.

It was the shortest day of the year, and I was walking over the Thames, thinking of how I was doing much the same thing 6 months ago on the longest day of the year, too. The contrast was a sharp one – London then seemed almost green, a neo-bohemian city which could cater to any need.

Now however, people were marching across London bridge, near identically wrapped in long dark coats, scarves and hats, hands firmly in pockets or in gloves. The trees had long since dropped their leaves, and the only green to be seen was ground-hugging. In the morning it would be coated in a layer of frost.

Behind, the lights of the city lit up parts of the fog, signalling key districts still lively as the office towers emptied. Cars rushed past nearby, leaving swirls in the fog from their wake. The idea of a white Chirstmas, of a cold end to the year, was suddenly less strange.

All those Hollywood stereotypes made sense, as the long darkness of the night and the chill wind makes you want to do nothing other than staying inside, warm and in the company of others, or perhaps just that one special other.

I’d have second thoughts about leaving here, but ultimately, the rational part of my mind spoke up again, reminding me that I had a choice, one that others who have lived here a lifetime take at the drop of a hat.

But, for a moment longer, the idea lingered, tempting.

3 replies on “The Shortest Day”

hey there – sorry for being so off and on! i take it your long stay in london is now over? It’s typical, but you know I have a hard time imagining christmas in the middle of summer. Even though it doesn’t snow, us weaklings still don scarves and long coats. where to next?

haha, I think I was the first to be donning the coat near-permanently, and the scarf had been out since September ^_^

Nope, still going back to London – that’s expected to finish in Feb.

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