When imagining retreat, keep in mind that little things addup. Consider the size of a snowflake, gently formed by crystals of ice, beautifully intricate. The size and shape of the crystals depend mainly on the temperature and the amount of water vapor available as they develop. It is a perfect balance that allows the flakes to form, and fall. And along the way, the snows of winter. Now consider one resident moving away from the shore and tending to or caring for the land that she left behind.

"Winter. Time to eat fatand watch hockey. In the pewter mornings, the cat, a black fur sausage with yellow Houdini eyes, jumps up on the bed and tries to get onto my head. It’s his way of telling whether or not I’m dead. If I’m not, he wants to be scratched; if I am He’ll think of something. He settles on my chest, breathing his breath of burped-up meat and musty sofas, purring like a washboard. Some other tomcat, not yet a capon, has been spraying our front door, declaring war. It’s all about sex and territory, which are what will finish us off in the long run.”

— Margret Atwood, “February”