I am loving the winter months. Aside from the obvious delight of there being absolutely no monster-sized mosquitos (massive bonus)- I love to feel the fresh chill on my face and the smell the trees and damp earth - capturing as much of Mother Nature as I can before being confined to the Studio. A chilly start can be very life - affirming.
The cold morning air hangs dense and heavy on my cycle along the Arno in the mornings. Some mornings crystal clear, sun just rising and catching fairy lights on the Arno. Other days I cycle through a cloud - the fog makes me wonder if Mary Poppins ever got cold sitting up there on her cloud waiting for her next batch of tricky children/parents.
The river seems to run at a slower pace this time of year, almost as though it is thicker, The trees have shed their stunning colours for the most part but their silvery bark and branch shapes cast beautiful reflections on the flat water. Dogs snuffle excitedly through damp leaves - straining at the leash, while Italians suck heavily on their cigarettes, and thrust their hands deeper in their pockets. Runners wearing layers of black and neon often move faster than traffic, while shops, markets and cobbled streets have twinkling Christmas lights, evergreen trees (real ones) and a busy joviality in anticipation. Bakeries are proudly showing off mouth-watering window displays with glass shelves groaning under every kind of tart, cake, tiny bite sized pastries with all kinds of fillings, biscuits and traditional Italian Panettone and Pandora. Sarah walks quickly past…
Winter also means we can wear our favourite caps, hats, cosy jumpers and scarves. My jacket colour I'm quite sure has saved me from imminent danger on more than one occasion. The Italians have no excuse not to see me - though some would refute that.
Of course I am well aware I am not suffering minus 30+, snow-drifts and dead car batteries. But I stand by the fact that winter often gets a bad wrap.