I love the snow! Still a child at heart, I rejoice in watching the whirling flakes of ice, in observing the ordinary green world as it turns white and vanishes, in seeing the frosted mountains, in smelling, tasting, touching this winter phenomenon.
Unfortunately, with the vagaries of our temperamental British weather, further complicated by climate change, we do not often get snow here in the far north-western corner of Wales. I miss it. Some winters I end up positively yearning for it and feel out of step… out of kilter… with the rest of the natural world for lack of it.
Even in a relatively cold winter, such as the one we have just experienced, when many other areas of the U.K. have been regularly blanketed under several feet of snow, the closest we have got to it has been on the mountain tops while down here in the valley, we have had to content ourselves with a mere dusting of frost.
Contrary to my usual wishes, when snow was forecast earlier last week, I only felt concern for the wildlife which is already in the full throes of nesting, budding and blossoming, and disappointment that it couldn’t have come earlier in the year,
Then, last Friday morning, I awoke to the vision of thick snow covering gardens, trees, fields… the whole valley! A blizzard of huge snowflakes danced past my window; the mountains across the valley were totally obscured and the sky was heavy with more snow to come. I sat with my hands wrapped around a scalding cup of tea, entranced at the magical wonderland being created before my very eyes!
As I watched, I became aware that the snow had a true individual presence, a life of its own – a thick layer of seasonal energy, a thronging of tiny, icy winter elemental beings (one for each snowflake, at least), which had come to bless and bestow upon the land the final kiss of winter, and all the benefits which a cold snap can bring. the snow lay, a living coverlet of natural energy, a rightful presence in partnership and harmony with the land.
Presently, the snow stopped, the clouds cleared and the sun came out, as did the village children, shouting and laughing and calling to each other as they slipped, slithered, tobogganed, snowballed and built snow people in the field opposite my home. Many delightful memories flooded my mind as I sat, a grinning spectator to all their innocent fun.
With the sun, the temperature rose and the world began to steadily drip. Jewel droplets glittered from every branch and surface. My husband rushed out to clear patches of ground in the snow so that bird seed could be scattered, while fat balls danced from the fruit trees and bowls of ice were replaced with fresh water.
As the snow gradually melted away and the green and golden daffodils and primroses re-emerged, I realised that the land looked different – cleaner, refreshed, revitalised, more vibrant. The snow had gone but the elemental life which had arrived with it had transmuted into something different and was still very much present.
Just a reminder that we cannot always see or understand the need for certain events in our life, but there is always a good reason for them.