When I was a kid, I loved snow. Cold fingers and toes were a price worth paying for those rare years when snow meant more than a bare sprinkling on the ground in February and a repeat of White Christmas on the TV. Yesterday though we got hit by snow. About four-inches worth overnight. Now compared to the rest of the UK, that wasn’t a huge amount; we weren’t snowed in, our roads generally were kept clear, nobody was stranded on the motorway for 19 hours, and I was lucky in that I didn’t have to go to work. My reaction to the brilliant blanket of white was at once surprising and saddening; of course it was a beautiful picture and there was a pleasure in seeing the dog and cats experience their first snow, but my first reaction was one of worry; I knew that the next morning I would have to get to work on icy, slippy, unlit roads. I remembered the previous year and the 50 minute journey home which took 6 hours in blizzard, drifting snow and ice, several times skidding across the road and praying that I didn’t slide into somebody. Full of the joys of the season I was not. The fear was not of being snowed in – you can’t do anything about that – but of the aftermath where I knew that I would have to attempt to get to work.
So I was grumpy. Not a natural state for me, but grumpy I was. Nicki suggested that we all took Tara the dog for a walk, and my first inclination was to say that I would take the dog out by myself, all the better for getting it done quickly and getting back inside into the warmth. But, luckily, deep inside my inner Grinch was just a glimmer of a little boy wanting to go out into the snow. So off we went, wrapped up to the ears with the Gordon Setter bouncing around us on her four totally uncoordinated legs. Then Caitie threw a snowball at me, and without taking a moment to grumble about my coat getting wet, I gently threw one back. And a cloud lifted, the worry about getting to work fell away and I began to actually enjoy myself - I could almost hear the Hallelujah Chorus playing and a jolly good fireworks display going off. We got very wet and very cold – especially poor Caitie’s feet as we discovered when we got home and found her wellies full of melted snow. By the time we were half way round the walk, her hands were so cold that she was wearing both Nicki’s and my gloves. She looked like a little pink Muppet, and her hands and feet were so chilled that even a chocolate bar from the village post office didn’t cheer her up.
Sometimes we adults are just too…well..adult. We forget that the Lord put us on this world to enjoy life as well as to live it. At what point was my youthful ability to experience joy in something as beautiful as a fresh snowfall replaced by a grey, colourless, joyless misery in seeing only the potential inconvenience it would cause me? It took a three year old girl and a snowball to put me straight.
Nicki, Caitie and Tara