The poem opens with a description of a man working in his garden, planting potatoes, seeing lapwing birds return after winter, then the speaker imagines him coming inside to write to her. The poem does not reveal what the relationship is between them - they could be friends or family.
The speaker is busy with her work, typing on to a computer and thinking about the news headlines. She asks the direct question 'is your life more real...?' because he is connected with the land, but knows he would not agree with this. She describes the letters as being filled with 'air and light' as if the fresh Yorkshire air has been posted to her. This helps to make her feel that their souls are connected 'across the icy miles'.
The straightforward language explores the way we can still feel connected with people who live far away from us even though we are apart and living very different lives.