The profound solitude of a winter spent alone on an island caring for an empty hotel

‘It’s the great waiting of winter … hulking there and biding its time until life comes back.’

A meditation on the appeals and challenges of solitude, Winter’s Watch accompanies Alexandra de Steiguer who for 19 winters has been the ‘caretaker’ of the Oceanic Hotel on Star Island in New Hampshire while it is closed during New England’s coldest months. Tasked with tending to the island’s 43 acres by herself, de Steiguer finds peace and meaning in being alone with her thoughts, and creative inspiration for her photography, though at times her mind has turned to ghosts and intruders. With breathtaking cinematography from the US filmmaker Brian Bolster, Winter’s Watch was a film festival favourite in 2017, appearing at AFI Docs, Camden International Film Festival, DOC NYC and Palm Springs International ShortFest, among many others.

Director: Brian BolsterExecutive Producer: Thomas Harrington

Support Aeon

‘Your articles are smart, well written, and enriching. This is what intelligentsia is about.’

Dien H, USA, Friend of Aeon

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Give now

Video/Social Psychology

‘My God! Where’s the human voice?’ A charming reflection on our pre-recorded world

3 minutes

Essay/Neuroscience

The inner voice

From a very early age, children learn to talk to themselves. That voice in your head is the thing that makes you, you

Philip Jaekl

Idea/Mood & Emotion

One is the loneliest number: the history of a Western problem

Fay Bound Alberti

Idea/Pharmaceuticals

Do psychotropic drugs enhance, or diminish, human agency?

Rami Gabriel

Essay/Neurodiversity

Autism from the inside

Too many depictions of autistic people rely on tired clichés. The neurotypical world needs to take note of our own voices

Katherine May

Video/Family Life

Shaggy bear story: a German filmmaker grapples with his dear grandfather’s Nazi past

8 minutes