Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Listening to the news you'd think we'd entered another ice age. Britain's got a talent for making a snowman out of a snow flake.
Only if you'd been stuck in a snow drift on the M 6 would you be unaware that we've had snow. Everywhere, up to our eye balls in the white stuff. Closing schools, vacating salt mines in Russia and giving talk radio a dose of verbal diarrhoea.
What is it with us? Why when a drop of the white stuff hits the pavements do neighbours refuse to clear paths for the elderly citing "Health and Safety"? What lazy thinking! UK's equivalent of shock jocks set winter hares running telling their gormless listeners that clearing the snow in front of their house makes them liable to damages should someone fall on their piece of pavement. It's the legislation!
It ain't: it's our willingness to give up any sense of responsibility for our fellow human being - citing whatever legislation we can stumble upon. Think about it, if the only way you can get out of you house is to clear the pavement in front of you - what do you do. Nothing and possibly starve to death, wait for someone else to clear a path and let them cop the insurance claim or clear your path so you can go shopping and live. So it follows....
And the interminable conversations with Jasons trapped on the motorway. Or the mothers whose kids haven't been able to go to school because mum's 4 by 4 hasn't been able to get up the drive. Or tales of daring do as postman plod managed to deliver the mail despite a smattering of the white stuff on the pavement.
I love snow, I love the whiteness, the beauty it brings to everything. The way it freezes festering pools and ponds into jewels. How trees, stripped bare of leaf hang with silent gems that shatter into powdery chill as the north wind hisses across the lake. Forbidding buildings, in warmer climes chill the blood, but now under the softening influence of crystals of ice, melt the eye and lift the soul.
I love banking up the fire, dragging in the logs and shoveling the coal so that the room glows golden with the warmth of black coal, reflected in the brass utensils that are part of narrative of the fiery hearth. I love the child the snow exposes in me, the sense of wonder and joy. The quiver of fear, of the wolf and the dark unknown, made safe by the glowing coals and a soft mew as our cats envelope us with warmth and companionship.
It's magical,unpredictable and raw. Embrace it as a friend who keeps you in touch with who you are. It's our fear of inconvenience and discomfort that chills the soul.