Don’t be put off by the icicles growing on your window, there’s plenty of ways to distract yourself from the cold, says Buro Culturemaker Noelle Faulkner

Perhaps it was the NGV's Van Gogh exhibition on the seasons that's inspired me, perhaps it's looking back on the toasty summer that was from underneath my triple blanket and hot water bottle combo, or maybe it's because I found my rune stones from year 8 in an autumn clean-up and kept drawing the jera stone (the stone of harvest, circle of life, change), but the symbolism of winter has been front and centre, dominating my conversations of late.

Though much of our native flora is evergreen and quite a big chunk of the Australian land still enjoys t-shirt weather, winter as a concept appears barren, desolate, frosty, monochrome even. We don't get the winter festivities that the northern hemisphere enjoys during this season - the Christmas cheer, roasting of chestnuts, holiday parties and end-of-year kitsch. Instead, we whinge about the cold (and if you're in Sydney, the lack of central heating and cloak rooms) almost incessantly, and naturally choose to stay in, Netflix and literally chill, if you will.  We have wardrobe dilemmas that cause us to cancel plans and some of us still hurt from the reality that a hot summer romance seeped in hope that it would last has faded, right when we yearned to be held under the covers in another's arms.  Even the produce is less exciting, instead of succulent mangoes, peaches and nectarines, we're offered citrus, fennel, root vegetables and brussels sprouts with a snore factor of 11. As I type this, I am constantly shuffling to sit on the last patch of sunlight to warm myself. ...

And yet, this dark, lonely, frosted idea of winter doesn't need to be so. It's so often how you choose to look at it. Sure, the streets may not be filled with laughter and life, but instead you'll find the pungent aromas of roasts, stews and various comfort foods - beacons of community, family, gathering. Venture inside the warm, stone confines of an art gallery and you'll find plenty of exhibitions to cosy up to. Cinephile bait like the prestigious Sydney Film Festival heat up screens, Dark Mofo celebrates the winter solstice with fire, nudity, avant-garde and art; and of course, Vivid Sydney draws the city outside and into the light, despite the crisp night air. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Also, Negroni week springs up to warm the cockles. 

Indeed, with the change of season comes the dark clouds of seasonal affective disorder -  and if that's you, know that I'm not going to make light of mental illness, but I do hope some of these ideas at least help to peel back that doona long enough for the sunshine to break though.

Follow Noelle:
Website: noellefaulkner.com
Instagram: @noelleflamingo
Twitter: @noelleflamingo 

If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, call Lifeline's 24-hour telephone crisis line on 13 11 14.

The Buro 24/7 culture guide: June 2017