This is a passage I first shared in 2009, and have revisited several times since then. It always comes to mind (for obvious reasons) when the mornings start to get just a little too cold.
The passage is the opening paragraph to The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
It was hard to say when exactly winter arrived. The decline was gradual, like that of a person into old age, inconspicuous from day to day until the season became an established relentless reality. First came a dip in evening temperatures, then days of continuous rain, confused gusts of Atlantic wind, dampness, the fall of leaves and the changing of the clocks - though there were still occasional moments of reprieve, mornings when one could leave the house without a coat and the sky was cloudless and bright. But they were like false signs of recovery in patient upon whom death has passed its sentence. By December, the new season was entrenched and the city was covered almost every day by an ominous steely-grey sky, like one in a painting by Mantegna or Veronese, the perfect backdrop to the crucifixion of Christ or to a day beneath the bedclothes. The neighborhood park became a desolate spread of mud and water, lit up at night by rain-streaked lamps. Passing it one evening during a downpour, I recalled how, in the intense head of the previous summer, I had stretched out on the ground and let my bare feet slip from my shoes to caress the grass and how this direct contact with the earth had brought with it a sense of freedom and expansiveness, summer breaking down the usual boundaries between indoors and out, all allowing me to feel as much at home in the world as in my own bedroom.
This passage comes to mind every winter for many obvious reasons and some not so obvious ones. Remembering this book specifically gives me a lot of mental fuel and ways to fight the short days of winter. If you haven’t read the book, I very highly recommend it.
What writing are you reminded of when the weather starts to turn? Let me know in the comments.