My mother named me Winter for the storms and blows before. My mother named me Winter for all the cold and silent places that can live inside a woman's heart. "Know these," she said, "know these and you may grow, aware of the dangers that lie before and the ways your heart will shatter over and over and over."

My mother named me Winter because she knew the coldness in her own life, but she felt she found it too late. She had made herself a soft and languid target, too easily stepped on through illusions of warmer days. My mother named me Winter because she made herself as cold as snow, as light as stalagmites of crystal ice, and as bitter as the winds that ravaged through her home, once she knew what the world could do. "If you hold these truths outside yourself, and make them all your own, then maybe ... maybe you won't need to let them in. Maybe your heart will need never melt, in the wake of your having frozen it."

"Winter," she spoke - she shook, the way she spoke - "may you never, never be cold."