Thursday, 7 January 2010


In the end, snow replaced the ice. For a day or so, the temperature rose to freezing - or higher - and I watched the flakes and remembered past winters.

Once snow mesmerised me as I sat in an exam room. For forty minutes I watched the snowfall through the window, past the faded print of a blue and gold nativity that hung above the teacher's desk. Suddenly I saw the clock and realised I should have been writing but ink on paper in a test of skill seemed less important than a snowfall.

When I was small, there was a harsh winter when snowdrifts were taller than me. I was eight and one morning, before breakfast, my 5-year-old brother and I dressed ourselves, left a note and went out to play in the snow while our mother slept. We found big boys on the slope behind the library, sailing downhill on torn pieces of cardboard boxes. They let us join them. The speed and thrill must have warmed us for, when we returned to the flat, we weren't cold at all. It's only Mum's concern that remind me that we'd gone out dressed in shorts and T-shirts.

The snow is compacting now and turning to thick ice on the pavements and pathways. Soon I'll head to the station, kitted for a trek instead of the usual stroll. I'm still staying in when I can, wishing I could curl with the cat in front of the fire. But two days ago, when I had to leave the house, snow lay newly bright on paths, leaves and branches and diamonds of ice sparkled from the pavement. Even in my tame suburb, sheltered from the worst of winter, I felt for a few moments an old delight in the fierce beauty of the world.


Kate J said...

The snow has been beautiful today here in mid-Wales, so cold it was bone-dry, powdery and really sparkling in the sunshine.
I work in a primary school, and we re-opened after a two-day closure (because staff were unable to get in, in the icy conditions). The kids were glad to be back, and enjoyed an extended playtime outside. The atmosphere was great, as we adults recalled snow-time fun from our childhoods. Meanwhile the children, some of them, told us about sledding and snowmen during the two days the school was closed.
Sadly, there were other children who'd done nothing but sit in front of the TV or games console, not allowed or encouraged to play outside. Sad, indeed... I think something of childhood is lost if kids can't enjoy those few, rare, snowy days we get in this country.

Anonymous said...

me too, i love how honest nature is... it always reminds me of happy memories when it snows.

Esther said...

Hi Kath,
I'm the director of Breaking the Silence at Nottingham Playhouse which you wrote such a fantastic blog about a couple of years ago. I'm back in the East Midlands doing A Pair of Pinters over at The Guildhall in Derby at the moment. I just wondered if you would like to come and see it? I could organise a couple of tickets for you if you like? It's on for a further two weeks until February 27th. If you are interested give the marketing department at Derby LIVE a call on 01332 255530. I have given them your name and details. Best wishes, Esther Richardson

Kathz said...

Thank you, Esther. The idea of that double bill appeals. I hope to blog about Pinter and the plays at the weekend.