In California over Christmas, I sat outside in a T-shirt in the sun, looking out over the greening hills, and I longed for Vermont and snow. For the tiny tracks of mice and rabbits and the stories they tell. For layers of wool and mugs of cocoa. For the snug feeling of being inside while the world whirls and freezes outside, and for the steam off my skin at the top of the mountain while the world whirls and freezes around me. And for the tightly-held dream of springtime, the thrum of the seasons that insists: You are alive.