Oh, when you’re meant to be there
you don’t bother turning up:
The whole world grinds to a halt
from two millimetres of you
You rock up when we don’t need you
and kids want to throw you around
(school run, 30 minutes late).
When you grow old and dark,
my heels and tyres slip warily on you
Yet the fragility of your freshest flakes
makes the air a magic twinkle
(trees and fresh snowprints).
And being snowed in for days
while annoying, is freeing
(sound of your silence).
Snow this week in London has caused late journeys, frozen toes, and hours of scraping windscreens free of ice. I’ve been in a hurry to get to meetings and carry on a normal life this week, the frankly the snow has been a pain in the backside. It took me 20 minutes to liberate my car from inches of snow. I then had to negotiate an ice rink of a car park that almost robbed my proud little car of its oomph. And you can’t get in my hallway for dripping boots, soaked gloves and padded coats.
I hadn’t stopped to enjoy the snow at all. I didn’t take a red sledge to the hills behind my house and hear my daughter’s pink-cheeked whoops of joy as she careered down the slopes. I didn’t join in with the neighbours as they shovelled our road back to black (a precipitous task, given the three-day snowfall we had). And I didn’t rush to find a carrot suitable for a snowman’s nose. It was as if the snow hadn’t happened at all, for all the attention I had paid to it.
Snowflakes reminded me to appreciate everyday precious moments (pic: istockphoto.com/djedzura)
Until last night, that is. I was walking along the road to get my car, avoiding the slippery pavements packed with ice. And I suddenly realised it was snowing again. It was nine at night, and the streetlamps illuminated the fragile puffs of white tumbling out of the sky. It felt as though that snowfall was a show specially created for me. I stopped on the street corner and looked up at the marvel of those perfect little snowflakes. Collectively they may be a nightmare. But individually they are delicate little things of beauty.
They brought a tiny tear to my eye and a warmth to my heart. A former boss of mine, watching me run around like a mad thing, always said to me: “Remember to stop and smell the flowers.” He’s not around any more, but this phrase lingered. And last night’s snow reminded me to appreciate the divine magic in the things around us that we take for granted.
The snow is fluffier this year. Not so great for snowmen. And not too good for train operators or commuters. But absolutely perfect for pulling a lost woman back to the present. I may have disconnected from the world temporarily. But those little snowflakes had a big role in making me feel alive again.