The intent was to celebrate as close as possible to the Winter Solstice…. there are people who get a little pedantic about actual time. According to a site I checked, actual time would be on Monday 22nd at 2.39am and I wasn’t going to be at the retreat, let alone getting up at that time of the morning in the frosty weather!
For a couple of months we have been gathering bushes that were taken off the fence lines and carting them to a central site. Very aware that the biddy bush is highly flammable, the fire trailer was topped up with water from the dam and parked nearby.
It was decided to light the fire on the Saturday afternoon, so that we had time to tend to the ashes and coals in daylight. The last bonfire took about 6 hours to look after and was fortunately in a damp area where the dam overflows. This year has been very dry and we wanted to make sure no sparks blew over our neighbour’s property which is covered in these bushes.
Around the 5 minute mark, we had to move the fire trailer as the heat from the fire was so intense that the metal was too hot to touch and the plastic IBC tank was in danger of melting. A new appreciation for the CFA crews who have to attend fires in this area!! The fire burned so quickly that there was very little left in the way of coals and what did remain was raked to the centre and checked on a regular basis. Just barely warm ash remained by Sunday morning which was very frosty and the temperature hovering around -1C.
I had already walked the big labyrinth after we arrived on Saturday, which is located just behind the bushes near the bonfire pile, in preparation for the Winter Solstice. I noticed that the recent rains had left water in the plinth in the centre, and the kangaroos and hares had finished off what was left of the sage – even to the extent of digging up the roots they had left from their previous feasting.
It wasn’t until later in the week, when I downloaded the photos of the bonfire that I noticed that the orbs were about…
Our guest for the evening arrived and it was time to start cooking on the campfire nearer the cottage. Foil wrapped potatoes and beetroot and a lamb roast. The temperature was dropping rapidly and even though there were some bigger logs on this fire and the stars were magnificent to look at, there came a time when it was prudent to retreat to the warmth inside.
Even by 10am the temperature had barely moved above 0C, so there was nothing else to do except keep walking…. this time in the smaller labyrinth near the shed. No surprises what turned up in the photo!