Winter storms, sunsets and waves. Winter in Wellington

Winter has started with its usual mixed bag in Wellington – calm, sunshine days that are moderately mild lull us into a sense of ease, before a sudden southerly change hurls us into an abrupt awareness that it is actually the season of winter.

A rolling swell coming into Lyall Bay on winter solstice, with the sun filtering through the clouds, lighting up the rain falling on the hills.

Gale force winds, heavy rain, and snow on the distant Kaikoura Mountain Range of the northeast of the South Island and the Remutaka Range bring out the wet weather gear, hats and gloves.

Seaward Kaikoura Range, visible from Wellington’s South Coast

The sea-saw of weather brings with it some spectacular swells on the south coast of Wellington, the crashing waves are mesmerising to watch, carrying so much energy and power in their wake.

The days draw in, the sunsets come early and with with a power of their own, burning with a final fight to light up the sky before darkness falls and the stars take their place.

Daylight is keenly acknowledged as a gift in the darkest months and time to be outdoors in nature very much appreciated. I love nothing more than to walk on the beach in winter and we are fortunate to have many different ones in Wellington, from perfect sand castle building ones in Scorching Bay to finely stoned ones at Breaker Bay, where the air is charged with particles that carry one’s thoughts to other realms and the waves force you to be present. A place where the air between worlds is thin, to remember and connect with all those you’ve loved and who have left this world. This is a place to go when you need time to pause, to feel connected to the universe and appreciate that to be alive is a miracle; to feel life and to breath, to be a soul in a body experiencing all the senses is a gift and to treasure the moment and accept life is fleeting.

When the wind picks up it changes the seascape of the bays leading out to the Cook Strait, squally gusts drawing pictures in the water, conjuring up droplets of sea water into mystical forms.

On calm, sunny days we stroll with out a care, cherishing the warmth of the winter sun on our bodies, taking off layers and walking in T-shirts, saying to one another, ‘Can you believe it’s winter?’!

There is no certainty to our days in Wellington, we learn to move with the tides, the wind and light. It’s easier to surrender to the changing moods of the weather than to fight.