Upturned Planet (or) A Southern Hemisphere Winter

In 2014 when my third book Born to a Red Headed Woman (published by Otago University Press) was launched, my mother’s sudden death caused a change of date. This year it was the pandemic.

Winter evening falling over Otepoti/ Dunedin’s harbour, as seen from Andy Bay inlet

Winter draws in. Street lights coming on early and turning off late. Intake of chilled air, breathing out frosty dragon-breath.

The early evening this photo was taken, a sudden seagull rumble started up – the sky filling with black-backed gulls screaming and threatening the smaller red-bills.

This morning I happened to be looking when all the street lights popped off. I noted what time: 8.21 a.m. Soon it will be the Mid-Winter Solstice. June 21st. This link takes to to where this is explained. Conditions permitting, some places will also be able to witness an annular, solstice eclipse.

Next month we will celebrate Matariki here in Aotearoa NZ. Something to look forward to in the darkest of winter. Go HERE to read a little about it.

At present, here on this part of planet earth, we are experiencing the longest darkness (or the shortest daylight) for another year. After that we begin a steep climb (spin?) towards longer and warmer, closer-to-the-sun sunlight.

Looking towards city lights behind the over bridge; causeway where the harbour runs into and then out of the Andersons Bay inlet.

Meanwhile, I seek what light there is indoors – sunlight falling through glass on to an armchair. A small lamp causing a Mother’s Day gift of an orchid pot plant to glow …

My newly released poetry book Upturned (published by The Cuba Press) is also providing some welcome winter glow.

As it happens the launch will be on my birthday. This is the second time that I have launched a book on my birthday. What are the chances? In both cases, extenuating circumstances the cause. In 2014 when my third book Born to a Red Headed Woman (published by Otago University Press) was launched, my mother’s sudden death caused a change of date. This year it was the pandemic.

The launch invite.

If you are unable to come to the launch but would like to buy a book – they are available from all good bookshops (Universtity Bookshop Otago in Dunedin and Unity Bookshop, Wellington have it on their shelves now.) At some bookshops, you might have to ask them to order it. You can also order books HERE from The Cuba Press website.

As I write, what was grey outside has turned to brittle sunlight. I know that the wind I see stirring the leaves on the trees will be a hostile one, so I am a mite reluctant to go out into it. Will I go for a walk or make myself a cuppa?


Writer from Dunedin, New Zealand.

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