Scotland is unexpectedly north. I mean, if you were to draw a horizontal circle around the globe from where I live, you'd hit Hudson Bay and southern Alaska.
As a consequence, although we don't get unduly cold winters (because of the Gulf stream), we do get the short days, long nights, and the low sun associated with northern latitudes.
December is fine. You get to the shortest day before you know it, perhaps because of the pre-holiday build-up. A tradition here that I've particularly enjoyed is the boozy Christmas party at work.
But then comes January. It's dark. It's usually rainy. And even when the sun is up, it's so low in the sky that it gives little warmth or brightness.
I went for run at lunch-time today, as it was my only chance for the day.
I jogged from the building where I work, across a few blocks, and headed into the park in the center of Old City.
For the first time in awhile, the sun was out, and the light felt warm on my face. I seemed to hear birds for the first time this winter. It wasn't spring, but there was a noticeable difference in the air. As I ran around the park, I took off my head-band and gloves because I was warm.
As I rounded one turn in the park, I startled some sea gulls who had been resting in a pond there. They took flight. The light was good, and a bit of sea was visible in the distance, so I stopped and took a photo.