Face outside of the door, there's a sting in the air. Right, that's it, time to break out The Big Coat. Walking up to the station the sky is full of that shifting purple that moves night into day, there is a winter chill and the sounds of dampness as cars splurge through puddles. The ice in the air is satisfying as it contrasts with the cocoon of The Big Coat, and accentuates the warmth provided. The tops of my nose and ears glow pink, pinched by the air, but my back, shoulders and lungs glow with smugness.
The Big Coat is a tricky decision, put it on too early in the year and you arrive drenched in your own fluids, too late and you get early onset pneumonia. The coat is one I've had for a few years now, it is scruffy - I know this because my wife has begun to make dark noises about getting a new one. She's right, it has frayed sleeves, a few stains which I can't account for, buttons are loose, and the zip unreliable; also, if I'm completely honest, it's a bit snugger now than when I first bought it. None of this matters to me however, because it is warm. Properly. Warm like lost in the snow and needing to make a new settlement to save humanity warm.
The best time for The Big Coat, is on cold days (preferably dry, but this is not always possible), when you have no rush to get anywhere. On these days you can fully revel in the experience of the cold, the change in the air, the light and even the quality of sound - echoes and chimes abound; all the while coiled in the warmth and weight of a coat who's sheer presence adds a sense of Nowness to the moment - as if you were a sculpture in a winter garden. You are an impassive observer, sartorially shielded from the elements; and because of this you can participate more fully with the world around: take in the landscape, cause chaos at a winter market, drift into slow motion as the frenzy of Christmas shopping waggle dances on speed around you.
Most importantly, as I pull The Big Coat up around me, I recall winter nights curled up with my wife, The Big Coat draped over us as we snuggle in the glow of candles and the deep drowsiness of mulled wine.