Like a child on Christmas Day, I leapt out of bed at 5am to look at the world cloaked in white. Sparkling white snow everywhere. I've been giddy all day, taking the dogs out in it in their ridiculous red tartan coats, watching them leap like bunnies across it, standing in the woods and staring up at the white branches as if in a ghostly cathedral. It's Narnia here. Really it's Narnia. It's magical and white and glittering and everyone's greeting each other with jolly hellos. We're on top of a hill in the Chilterns and we're in a very small village; there are boxes of salt on the side of the road but I haven't seen a snow plough, nor do I know if such a thing exists in the English countryside. This is unusually snowy. This kind of weather sends me into paroxysms of glee and also sends me online searching for used Land Rovers. My poor darling is stuck in Berlin, where all the flights have been cancelled, as is making his way back via Köln and Dortmund and Brussels on a train.
Yesterday, walking through the cold woods, waiting for the snow, I realized that winter makes me, makes us, want to simplify. Summer is about abundance: flowers and fruits and buzzing bees and plenty. Winter is about taking stock, about letting go of things, about appreciating the beauty of minimalism. The cold seals you up, makes you careful, forces you to think about what you can lose without losing yourself. Winter isn't chaotic, unlike Spring, when everything bursts into being. Our job in winter is to keep warm, is basic sustenance, is thoughtfulness, is kindness.