It happens quite rapidly, once daylight saving has ended and autumn equinox has passed. Suddenly the evenings are dark and the descent time has begun. Even the weather forecaster picks up the undercurrent: the NZ Herald reports this from weatherwatch analyst Phillip Duncan: ‘He likened the descent into winter to a staircase with a series of drops and plateaus. “And we are starting to see that kind of downstairs movement.”‘ Exactly what I describe in my new book Dancing with the Seasons. There I link the descent with stories and myths of journeys to the underworld.

Kiwi Halloween is approaching on April 30. I’m preparing for the Ponsonby Rd vigil, lighting candles and pumpkin lanterns for the dead. This is the threshold, this is when we step on the stairway downwards.