There are three winters within each winter season. The first, early winter, can actually be lovely. The temperatures are cold but not terribly so. Often you can go out with no gloves or hat. If you celebrate Christmas, there is all that to look forward to.
Next comes the bleak midwinter, sometime in January and lasting through until the end of February. This is the cold heart of winter. You need to psychologically strengthen yourself to get through this part, but if you learn how to make the most of it, it passes quickly, like all time.
Finally there is late winter. Winter falters then: days lengthen, ice melts, the earliest of flowers – snowdrops! – appear. You can already taste spring, and summer seems possible and not just a cruel memory.
Winter seems long, but each of the three winters is short. They whip by like speed skaters or tobagganers.
(Originally written on my Blackberry and published on Posterous on December 11 2011, 9:54 PM)