Dwarfed by white snow

Wednesday 7th December 2011

GREY areas are large expanses of territory, with more than enough room to feed cheeky monkeys and the pride of lions. With snow, though, it’s down there in white and white. You either love it or there’s something wrong with you.

My younger daughter, then a teenager, woke me one morning demanding attention:

“You have to get out of bed now, Dad. I might be back for lunch, might not. See you later.”

Even under the duvet you can sense it: the hush beyond the pane, the thinned air, the slowness of things. Curses come only from those driven by cars and credit card bills. Local radio welcomes rare listeners.

It’s still falling, softly now, in milk chocolate drops, landing with no impact whatsoever, weightless, speechless, as pointless as life itself. Better wear the leather gloves in case urged to throw a few snowballs, as is most likely.

Feast days and holidays are fore-written; worried over, planned for; meant. They belong to the business side of being a grown-up. But snow knows not the importance placed on lost trades or the schedule for Thursday. It is a child wondering in a forest, a magician casting a spell.

“…long delays across the region, with further disruption likely…”

Good. Planet Earth is not a bloody motorway. Jeans thrust into long, woolly white socks; now for the wellies.

“…weekend fixtures facing cancellation…”

So what? More kids are getting more exercise today than in the last three months.

Will-o’-the-wisp flecks trip lightly from eaves and the fingertips of trees. Then there’s that first crunch of boot, familiar as toast; a smoky breath exhaled; the still silence of expectancy.

This is when we applaud the milkman, the post lady, and the shepherd; when neighbours help neighbours; when, if we choose, we can remember to be humble in the presence of a sleepy-eyed elder.

In the park, I spy snowmen among the trees, stalwart and alert; another seated on a bench, twig-fingered and pebble-eyed.

I take off my bobble-hat, to feel the tingle of the winter air.

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