This morning I looked out of the bedroom window and there it was: Snow.
The trees looking skeletal against the white, but with each branch, each twig outlined by its own small snowfall. As ever I was taken aback by the beauty of snow in the countryside, the way in which the familiar changes in small ways to reveal a different facet of itself. Suddenly the slope of a roof, hardly noticed before, comes into focus. The fields, sharply distinguished, divide the hill sides more obviously.
But there is another dimension to my reactions.
We live near the top of a hill and access is via a small, steep winding lane and there have been times when we have been comprehensively snowed in. Will it be like that this time? Ancient insecurities surface, will we have enough food for us all, will we have enough fuel to keep us all warm? Barely real anxieties – and perhaps the frisson of fear enhances the delight in the beauty, the way the snow drifted along the foot of the dry stone walls emphasises their form snaking over the hillsides, the duality of emotions heightening the experience.
Many years ago I came across a story, well hardly a story really, more just an idea.
When it snows the whole white-out is composed of huge numbers of individual snowflakes, each one exquisite in its immaculate fractal composition. The first ones to land on a branch look good but have little impact. However as more and more land the pressure on the branch grows until one last tiny flake is the one which joining the others causes the branch to bow and break. Such power.
Strange, isn’t it, that “snowflake” seems to currently be used as a derogatory term?