How to survive winter
I know you don't want to hear this. But Southland, winter is just around the corner.
And because I have just come out of a Northern hemisphere winter that had the catchword ''polar vortex'' tied to it, I feel like I may be of some assistance in this respect.
Obviously, there's no way around it. For the sun-lovers, winter bites.
So I have compiled a raindrops-on-roses-and-whiskers-on-kittens list for you to clutch and refer to in the dark months ahead.
From Montana, to Southland, with love: 11 things that have gotten me through this winter.
1) Winter fly-fishing. Initially, I agreed to willingly wade into a river in negative temperatures to impress a guy, but I've actually found that I love it all on its own. It's the quiet and the simplicity of it that gets to you. You can be side by side with someone, yet still in your own little dreamy world. And the thrill of the catch. I'm terrible at it, so it makes no sense why I'm still scrambling over rocks trying to keep upwith someone who does this for a living. But here I am, with a new sport to humiliate myself doing, and now I have all summer to perfect my cast, set the line, and reel them in, and, eventually be impressive at this myself.
2) Aretha. Lots of Aretha. In the bathtub; doing dishes; wherever. She'll power you through the darkest hours.
3) A really, really good cocktail in a favourite bar on a Monday night. Preferably a bar with big windows to watch the weather come down outside.
4) A pile of books. Winter is great for just getting stuck into it. This, right here, is what you would have found me reading every morning, on the couch, coffee brewing, tucked into my blankets like a stuffed burrito, until I felt ready to talk to people. There is no better way to wake up.
5) Adventures at high altitudes that leave you breathless.
6) A porch, with afternoon sunlight, a view of the mountains, and a bottle of wine from my home hills in California.
7) A photo album of a place that had ocean, sand, time, light and space to do, whatever you wanted to do, with no place to go; entire days that were entirely yours (My go-to album has been Cascais, Portugal, from last November).
8) Cheesy, fun, winter activities with cool people that involve bundling up, getting into a sleigh, and singing cowboy music by candlelight in a cabin, deep in the woods.
9) Roadtrips to new mountain ranges.
10) Cooking something weird and awesome over an open fire (this was my first taste of wild elk) and making coffee with snow melt the next morning.
11) Unapologetic marathons, in your pjs, of your favourite TV show that stopped running in 1996.
Stay strong, Southland. After winter, comes the spring.
The Southland Times