When I first raised the curtain, blinking to be sure I was seeing aright, my heart leapt with the kind of joy I have not felt in many weeks. About a centimetre of snow lay across the grass, nestling in the nooks of tree branches and sticking in the curves of the statue in our garden. At the front of the house, our cars were topped with still more snow. It ‘stuck’ to them sooner because they were colder than the ground when the snow began.
Joy of joys, the snow was still coming down, in little flakes to be sure, but persistently falling in a way that suggested it wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Still in my dressing gown, I rushed downstairs and threw open the French doors in our living room. The cold air of a snowy day rushed in, fresh and clean, nipping at my ankles. I could hear the sound of the snow gently falling and the delighted shrieks of a small child playing in the garden a few doors down. It’s a sound I haven’t heard in a very long time.
I made coffee, heated up a bran muffin and ate my breakfast standing at the kitchen window, watching the snow fall. As I sipped my coffee, I was delighted to see that not only was it still coming down, the flakes were bigger, fluffier and more persistent.
The Joys and Sorrows of a Snowy Day
I grew up in Canada, so I know a snowy day is as a thing that can bring joy, frustration and worry in equal measures. Winter is a season of snowmen and fun to be sure, but also one of blizzards, road traffic accidents and sadness. And after months and months of snow, a snowy day can bring anything but joy. Equally, here in the south of England, it can bring about the frustration that only an infrastructure poorly equipped to deal with snow can bring. One year it took my husband over six perilous hours to make a forty-five minute journey home from work.
However, even in a normal year here in the south of England, a snowy day would be welcomed. In the long days of Januarys and Februarys past, we would hope for snow to arrive overnight, after everyone was safely home and before we had to leave in the morning, so we could all enjoy some time out at home.
And in this season when I find myself feeling a strange relief at reading in the press that “only so many hundred people died” instead of over a thousand on any given day, when so many unbelievable things are happening and our lives have changed beyond recognition, we need the space, hope and promise of a snowy day more than ever.
Hope for the Days to Come
The simple joys of a snowy day, a meteorological event that is unremarkable to some, can bring the sense of a fresh start to those of us where it is anything but ordinary. In recent days, time has both hurtled and dragged, leaving even those of us who are blessedly untouched by illness, economic woes or loss feeling bruised, confused and exhausted. A snowy day is a small bit of relief from the daily worry about the health of our families, the sadness at not being able to be together in real life and the strange ennui that hangs in the air.
The pure, white snow resting on the ground, the delightful fresh, cold air and the simple hush that hangs in it, are a temporary respite from what has become our ordinary. The snow will melt, and things will return to our much debated ‘new normal’, but for today I am reminded that there are indeed unexpected and delightful joys ahead, if only we have the patience and strength to wait for them.