For me, it was the shrinking of the real world. Down and down and down, until sunset, when nothing existed beyond the boundaries of the house.
For one night, until the Sun rose again, there was nothing else.
In the peak of Summer, absolutely everything lay outside those walls. Friends, holidays, perpetual youth and optimism. Every day was littered with the building blocks of bright possible futures. The daylight stayed past ten o’clock in the evening, dawn came before I ever woke, and the world was vast – and mine to explore.
Winter changes things. Edges recede, and bulwarks are erected. First the windows are closed, then jackets are traded for coats. Gloves are put on. Curtains are drawn. The low, heavy beat of central heating – coming out of its own hibernation just as the animals enter theirs – willing us to remain inside, and sleep. The season of frost and ice carries a message that our blood hears clearly: stay here.