“Winter’s coming”, they say, headhung and weary already. It’s a long chill, kept warm by national coffee and the primitive victories of blades over ice, muscle under hide and the stench of desperate youth. Parsing their determination, I could hear the fatalism. “This is what we signed up for”. Gritting, bearing it, clenching down as the knife of a wind cuts a shiver through you. When the air itself is a sting on the cheek, spreading red icicle rashes, everything wise is huddling, conserving, metabolizing survival. Out here the trees groan low in the stillness, their burden of snow more months to carry. The violent stillness, the shocking light, the unforgiving reminder: this is no place for you.