It’s already happening, that ghastly melting feeling. It’s mostly below freezing, but the sunshine is warm, so the snow is melting off the balcony, dripping down by the window as I write this. It’s way way too early – and we know for sure there will be more snow and ice and cold to come so this is a very temporary blip – but just at the moment there are a few days of warmer temperatures and it feels like we’re slowly sliding off a cliff. You can’t stop the slide. You know it will take you somewhere you don’t want to go, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

At some point in the spring we have to let go of winter and enjoy the returning warmth. But this time of year we just have to dig in our heels and try not to notice the snow falling off the roof, the compacting of the snow piles, and the drip drip drip outside the window. I’m already receiving excited phone calls from England, telling me of the arrival of the spring there, the primroses, daffodils, and the warm green days. I’m not at all envious. I’m in love with the snow queen and I don’t want winter to go away.

The landscape here belongs to winter. That’s when it has its own places, places people can’t reach. With skis and snowmobiles and determination, people can only make small tracks across it, scraping the surface and then disappearing into the distance, while vast areas are held frozen and totally inaccessible. I love that feeling. But when the thaw begins and winter lets go, all that mystery begins to slip away. That’s not to say the landscape in the summer isn’t beautiful, but it is beautiful in a predictable, unthreatening sort of way. All summer I have the feeling that the landscape is just waiting to be returned to its true self.

But I am getting ahead of myself. It is still only February. We are having a warm spell now for a few days and I will just have to look the other way, find something absorbing to take my mind off it.