Snow Going Back

The snow is beginning to thaw in the garden but white still covers the downs, although life is back to normal and people are moving about their lives as before, if a little hunched against the cold.

I regret the fading away of that strange shift, that wonderful something that happens to our behaviour when we have unusual weather. On the first day of really heavy snow, Sandown felt strangely post apocalyptic in the sense that the normal behaviour and patterns of people’s day to day life had suddenly broken down. It was as if a magical regime change had taken place and liberated us all from the grind of daily life; parents were out having snowball fights with their kids; people were gingerly walking down the centre of the roads; what cars there were, crawled along and the whole known world had been whitewashed clean of its old detail. It felt briefly like beginning again – a strange and gleaming newness.

Extremes of weather bring a certain kind of blessing. The heavy snow gives us the opportunity to step outside the normal boundaries of our living and perhaps see other possibilities. We get caught up in the momentum of our lives, sometimes to our detriment; the responsibilities we have can bring us structure and stability but they can also act like prisons at times. That balance that we each strive to keep between structure and freedom is often a tough one to manage, and for most of us it weighs heavily on the structure and responsibility side. Come the snow, the scales flip and suddenly there is a wonderful sense of being let loose for just a while. We become like dogs let off our leashes.

We all fit in, to varying degrees, with the expectations of our culture; we all have to eat, we need shelter and our society expects a certain exchange of labour for these. And yet, I can’t be the first to think that we have perhaps created a system whereby those moments of heady freedom are handed out in the stingiest of rations.

I will miss the snow.



  1. executivepagan said,

    January 12, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    You are not the first or only! Sunday was my wife’s birthday, and we celebrated by… doing nothing. We stayed home all day, and beyond cooking a special breakfast and dinner we did nothing but enjoy family time – read the paper, play games, watch a movie. By the end of the day I was startled to realize that I felt vaguely unsettled, because we hadn’t “accomplished anything” – except to bond as a family, of course! 🙂

  2. luckyloom1 said,

    January 12, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Happy Belated Birthday Wishes to your wife! Sounds like a perfect day!

    It’s crazy the way we have been encouraged to define what is a ‘valuable’ use of time and what isn’t. I think it has a lot to do with that old Calvanist work ethic. It’s so easy to feel guilty at indulging in things that are purely pleasurable, if we don’t feel we’ve deserved it by doing something ‘useful’ first. It’s a bit like being told as a kid to eat your dinner before your pudding because of course dinner is nutritious and virtuous, and dessert is naughty and pleasurable. They both go down the same way! :0)

    I increasingly see friends and family’s home life being encroached upon by the demands of work. It’s nuts really – the balance is all out of wack. I seem to remember that new technologies were going to free up our leisure time -it seems to me that they just create more work!

    Having days like your wife’s birthday are so important for our happiness and well-being, and as you say, for bonding together as human beings.

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