The past two weeks have been a winter wonderland with beautiful snowfall and cold, crisp days. I love when the seasons act like the seasons they are -- there's nothing worse than balmy temperatures in dead midwinter and having to wear a woolly jumper in the summer.
This two-week interlude of winter weather has been wonderful -- but it's also brought with it moments of pain, sometimes quite literally. So here are just a few of the highs and lows:
1. There's almost nothing better than being out at night after a really deep snowfall. If the sky is clear, it often feels quite bright as the stars and moon reflect off the pearly white snow. Everything feels hushed and peaceful, especially when big snowy flakes are falling. The crunch of your footsteps in the newly fallen snow makes a wonderful sound amidst this hush. It really feels like you have the world to yourself, and sometimes feeling all alone in the world is actually a good thing.
2. However, when the nights get a little bit too cold and the wet streets freeze into black ice, it's treacherous. And when you have to walk a dog each night, it feels like you are taking your life into your hands at times. One late night as I walked home from my parents with Pippa's leash in one hand and a gallon of milk in the other, I hit a patch of this black ice in the middle of a hill and went flying. A wrenched shoulder and a sore behind were the result, though I'm very grateful it wasn't worse. The gallon could have ruptured, and I could have been crying over spilt milk.
3. Pippa loves the snow. I suspected part of her Heinz 57 mix was from husky blood, and I am now thoroughly convinced of this. Over the past two weeks, she has romped and raced through it. She has bulldozed her nose through the snow at top speed. She has rolled ecstatically in the cold snow. She has chased and leaped after snowballs. She has stuck her nose in deep to every drift and sniffed like it's the best smell in the world. And it's been a joy to see -- just watching her have so much fun has brought a lot of belly laughs. And a lot of great exercise as I romp with her.
4. Since the first day of the snow, when it came down thick and fast, I haven't been able to get my car up the driveway to my house. And so each evening after work, I've parked my car in front of my parents and walked home. This has become increasingly tiresome as I carry my work bag, my gym clothes, sometimes groceries or other spoils from errands run, and a million other things in my rucksack. I feel like a turtle carrying my home on my back. Every. Single. Day. And so today when I tried to carry two heavy bags of groceries up the ice slick that is my driveway and through the still deep snow near the house, I was finally kind of over it.
5. Every big snow brings a childhood memory flooding back: reading C. S. Lewis's The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. This book made a huge and lasting impression on me when I first read it, and I've read it many times since. When I was at university in Durham, there was a lone lamppost on the end of a bridge over the River Wear. And on many a snowy night, I'd pass it and it would make me think of the scene in that book when the children pass through the wardrobe full of furs and coats and emerge in the magical land of Narnia, covered in snow and with the light shining out from a lamppost into the dark and snowy night. I now have my very own lamppost outside my front door, and several nights I looked at it with pleasure as it shined in the snow, and I once again thought about that wonderful book.
6. No offense to anyone out there who has had work cancelled on a regular basis over the last couple of weeks, but I have been feeling resentful... Every day on Facebook there would be post after post about relaxing on snow days... Drinking hot cocoa! Sleeping in! Watching several movies back to back! Making snow cream! Cooking a big pot of soup! Reading a good book! Generally having a grand old time while I still went to work every single day. It's not your fault, I understand that. But how I wanted a snow day or two -- those wonderful unplanned-for days off where you have no obligations and are stuck at home and thus can't feel guilty about just doing exactly what you want. (And yes, I realize this is an idealized version of what actually happened on your snow days, and the reality was inevitably more dull and probably involved you and yours going stir crazy. But still...I wanted one or two snow days of my own, desperately!)
7. Snow makes everyone into a big kid. From snow angels and sledding to catching snowflakes on your tongue and snowball fights, there's nothing quite like snow to make you embrace your goofy side and just have a good time. And I'm all about the goofy side, so thank you, snow!
Here's what else you need to know about me and Narnia. I was OBSESSED with Narnia when I was a kid. I spent hours going into the back of every single closet and wardrobe in our house, sure that eventually one of them would open up into this imagined land and that I too would have some amazing adventures. I did this over and over and over again. I was nothing if not persistent. And possibly delusional. Not finding Narnia is one of the biggest disappointments of my childhood.