Going Sno-where

There’s something so rare about heavy snowfall that each time it happens, you recall vivid memories of the few occasions you’ve experienced it before:

  • A canal-side walk with my older brother one late Sunday afternoon in the early 1990’s, and watching him pound away at the ice with his heavy black Doc Martens to show me how easily it could crack.
  • Careering down the steepest verge of a snowy hill on a sledge circa 2000 – in an awful effort to impress some boys – and whacking straight into a tree, before limply falling out of the side of the flimsy plastic transportation and groaning on the ground for ten minutes whilst said boys crowded around in an embarrassing concern.
  • Meeting a friend at her house during a lunch-break from my temp-ing job – and her revision-break for her Law exams – and making a snowman with blueberries for eyes, in 2009.
  • Sliding down the grassy verges of the Dane John Gardens with some friends one Friday evening in January 2018, after several beers in a cosey pub

The older you get, the more wary you become of snow. It’s dangerous to drive in. It’s perilous to walk on. It wreaks havoc with public transport and it makes everything wet. At thirty five, the thought of heavy rain washing all of the snow away fills me with some relief when as a child it could make me cry. That’s exactly what happened this week; a Winter Wonderland flushed away overnight, the snowman over the street now a beheaded ball of black ice alone on a bright green lawn, and no more fretting about the need to walk anywhere.

But, my word, did it look beautiful during its short stay, making the town look like a Christmas cake with Viennetta footpaths and glacier mint waterways. At a time when we’re tethered to our homes, the snow was a welcome distraction from the reasons behind that, which have dominated our lives for the past year.

The snow was a reminder of a few things, really. How an alluring appearance can sometimes conceal danger. How different things can suddenly look after a few conditions collide, and then how quickly the things we like can melt away.

The Pandemic Snowfall 2021. One which won’t be forgotten in a hurry…

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