On the central ranges of New South Wales you can choose your favourite from two types of winter morning: the ones like today, dawning crystal clear, a bright blue sky appearing as the sunrise colours fade, or still, and shrouded in mist, with the promise of bright blue sky to come once the mist burns off. Admittedly there’s a third type of morning, very rare, which is everyone’s favourite: the mornings when it’s raining.
In winter I head east from Mudgee in the dawn light, and drive to work along one of the loveliest stretches of road anywhere in the world. That half hour journey is my opportunity to absorb the mood and beauty of the countryside in winter. I arrive at work feeling serene and focussed.
Yesterday was one of the straight-up sunny mornings. The lingering autumn foliage was illuminated by the sunbeams which lit up the frosty grass and provided warmth for the cattle after the long cold night.
But my favourite winter mornings are the calm and quiet ones. I love the drama of the skeletal deciduous trees, the swathes of mist nestling in the undulations of the land, the banks of tall frosted grasses lining the roadsides. The unclad willows looking like delicate crystal chandeliers.
Last July, after weeks of driving past this willow, I found a safe place to park and took a closer look. As I approached the tree, I realised what I was seeing- perfectly formed ice crystals arrayed along the slender, ropy tresses of the willow stems.
What resulted was one of my favourite photos ever.
Winter is my favourite season in Mudgee.
Tell me, what do you love about the countryside in winter, where you live?