You might notice me first in the scent of woodsmoke that rises up from the ashes of the long days of summer. Or perhaps you will see my gnarly fingers reaching up towards the sky, revealed as my breeze steals the last of the golden leaves. Or maybe it will be that moment you make yourself late as you return home for a jacket after shivering at the bus stop. Or when you realise you have not been out in daylight since you woke, looking wistfully through a steamed up window at the lingering shadows whilst the clock on the wall counts down the minutes until you are released once more into the cold and the dark.
However I come for you, you will be in my grip before you know it.
You will hear me in the winds that rattle the window frames and howl down the chimney. You will feel me under foot as you struggle to keep your balance on a patch of unexpected ice or crunch across crisp grass on a frosty morning. I will numb your fingers and caress your cheeks until they are red and raw.
Some days you will be glad that I am here.
When you fill your lungs with the cool clarity only I can bring, or see a frozen landscape sparkle under sunny skies bluer than you thought was really possible. When you wrap up warm against me, shunning the transformations I have wreaked on the outside world to cosy up with those you love. When you marvel at the quiet beauty of fresh snowfall, transported back to childhood and a world that was simpler and more magical.
Other days you will wish with all your might that I had never come at all.
And then one day, not long after you have convinced yourself that I am all there is, I will be gone.
In my place there will be green, and warm sunshine that seems to melt your very soul. The universe will be full of possibility again, and you will wonder why you let yourself let go of hope.
It will not be much longer until you almost forget that I exist at all.
But I will always be here, waiting.
And when you least expect it I will return.