Winter is in full swing. December and January were unseasonably warm for the time of year which should have given us a clue that something was up. Still, we carried on watching the first green shoots arriving much too early and wasted time on discussing how unusual this was. Global warming may have been mentioned once or twice. Local radio gardening shows were faced with a plethora of questions of how to protect these premature babies of nature. Nor was the retail sector exempt. As usual the January sales quickly made way for the Spring/Summer wardrobe. Bikini anyone?
It was only then the weather announcers informed the expectant population that the temperatures were set to plummet. From double figures (celsius) one day to minus-rather-too-much-for-my-liking the next. It was cold. Properly cold. Now I know that the people of Eastern Europe, the northern states of the US, Canada, etc will consider our winter temperatures positively balmy but the fact is we Brits are not used to extremes. Our average freezing point is much higher than some of our cooler country cousins (and boiling point far lower than our warmer country ones). We also enjoy, more than anyone else on the planet, holding intense conversations about the weather. Anything approaching extremes can keep us in discussion for days. I suspect the “cold snap of 2012” will be talked about for years to come.
It wasn’t sufficient for it just to freeze though. Oh, no. The inevitable happened and last weekend the snow arrived on the South Coast (almost). That is to say it snowed about 2 miles inland but not actually on the coastal strip. Luckily for me I don’t live right on the coast so I was one of the few who got caught out in a blizzard in my ball-gown. I jest not.
Despite my sarcastic tone, I love snow. I love the way the flakes float softly and silently through the air. I love it when the evening light reflects off its surface making it seem that stars have fallen to the ground and are shining up at me. I love the way it seems to build community as we all get out there together to clear the roads and pavements or help each other when our cars get stuck. I love the way it forces us to slow down in so many ways from walking rather than driving to chatting to a neighbour because suddenly there is nowhere to go. I love being able to walk in the road with my dog off the lead without worrying about cars speeding past. Most of all, I love watching people (me included) come to life playing in it. Snowball fights, snowmen, snow-angels, tobogganing and jumping around in it.
I’ve written before about recreating childlike zest and, for me, snow does just that. I suddenly feel free to skip down the road or jump into a snow drift feet-first not worrying whether I will fall over or whether anyone will laugh at me. Who cares? I am living life and loving it! Sure I might slip on the ice and that bit I find more frightening but even then there is something about the purity and softness of snow that is so inviting that the real-me can’t stay hidden for long. Keeping it that way is more challenging but just think of all the puddles that melted snow creates – perfect for jumping in!
Take some time today to think about how you can release the inner-child in you and regain some of your enthusiasm for the little, simple things in life. Who knows, you might surprise yourself!