The winter is a sickness and the spring, when it finally comes, is like a fever breaking. Symptoms begin to show sometime in mid-autumn—shorter days and frosted morning glass. My home becomes a refuge from the weather and also a kind of spiritual retreat. I no longer take long walks through the hills in prayer but instead pray at my bedroom windows or lying under warm blankets. The cold does this to everything—reduces it to simplicity. Suddenly I become more aware of my gratefulness for warmth, my meals and even my faith. In the morning before I leave my warm bed, I read the words of the psalmist, lit by lamp light: “When the cold is unbearable, he sends his word to bring the thaw and warm wind to melt the snow.” Those words give me hope, even when the winter storms seem unrelenting and I begin to doubt spring will ever come.