The year-weary sun is crossing the sky towards an early sinking death, leaving us in darkness. The moon too has turned and hides her light from us. Only the cold stars will stud the sky if the clouds allow.
The hours of night will be long, the longest we have known since the sun warmed the land last spring.
But there are buds in the oak and catkins in the hazel, under the deep drifts of fallen leaves seeds soak up the winter rains and swell, preparing.
Eventually dawn will come, and a fresh sun will rise with renewed energy, and in its pale sky a slim crescent moon will reflect this bright light.
Each day this new sun will grow in strength, shining longer and warmer. This is the signal that nature has been waiting for.
As the old sun waned, life retreated and withered; only the holly retained its verdant green.
Now the oak will reclaim its crown and encouraged by the youthful sun, will allow energy to flow back into its leaves and unfurl to glory in the coming spring.