Dark continues to increase during the winter until two thirds of the way through December.
Today is the shortest day, the 21st this year. The least sunlight, the cold drifts in under the doors. Subtle shades of black cover the sky. The dawn seems a long way away. Lights twinkle through chilled air and a steady drizzle drives into every crevice, making clothes damp and uncomfortable.
That dark is such a contrast to 6 months ago when the temperature soared to over 30 degrees and the sun had barely set before it sprang back up again. Bathing in heat then, we now sit in yellowed gloom from cheap low energy light bulbs. Colours are washed out, paint seems hard to differentiate from colour to colour.
Is it any wonder that northern lands cling to the classic religions that celebrate their most important ceremonies at this time of year.
Wassail and messiahs meld into a grand charge against the darkness. Dragging us forward into the new year and the return of the Sun.