The frustration threatens to burn a hole through my chest. At the end of December, the winter solstice hailed the change in light that is oh, so very welcome after months of darkness. But now I find that the sun is showing me all that I cannot have and I cannot bare it.

Beautiful, bright sunlight is streaming in through every window in the house, reflecting off of every surface and filling every room. And my heart yearns to go outside, to once again be able to observe and witness the natural world in its rhythms and cycles, yet there’s this invisible barrier which turns the sunlight as sour as old milk.

In winter there’s but one rule: the more sunshine there is, the colder it is outside. And so I pine like a character in a Jane Austen novel after that which I cannot have. I sit and stare out of the window, the embroidery all but forgotten in my hands as I sigh a sigh that seems to arise from the very depths of the earth.

I look at other people, moving about in the snowy landscape, unencumbered by the crippling affliction I live with. Despite the snow making simple walking hazardous and strenuous, they almost seem to be enjoying themselves – out with their dogs, out for walks or focusedly making a beeline for wherever they’re going.

Their rosy cheeks will fade as soon as they get inside and get warm, and they don’t have to fight down the rising panic of feeling how the inside of their throats slowly swell as the soft tissues are exposed to the cold air on every intake of breath.

I stand in the kitchen and let the sunlight wash over me. Behind my closed eyes, I see rolling hills covered in sweeping grass set against the backdrop of the churning Atlantic. The wind rakes its fingers through my hair as I pick my way through this ocean of green, somewhere ahead of me a dog is sniffing after the rabbit trails. The sunlight glints off the waves like sparkling gems and the constant susurrus of the water breaking on the shore soothe my soul.

Like in a Miyazaki movie, the wind makes the tall grass undulate like waves in the ocean, and I make my way forward feeling so very small in the world. The blue sky above serves as a canvas for the clouds flitting across its azure face, and for the ocean birds hanging effortlessly on the wind blowing off the cliffs.

If this really was a Miyazaki movie, this would be but a train ride away from my busy life in the city. But as it stands, I’m a sea, several lockdown restrictions and a big enough income away. And I have no choice but to open my eyes again to the white and blue winter landscape before me and make peace with the fact that I’m going to be stuck inside for another few months.

But once winter is done, and I can go outside again without having to pay for my adventure with several days of strong medications and low-grade infections, I’m going to drink my coffee by the sea again. I’m going to sit on the beach and revel in the open horizon and my coffee is going to taste so much better there than it ever could in the house.