the magic of snow

The children went to bed disappointed. The weather forecast had promised snow, but the sky, leaden though it was, did not deliver. As they slept even my hopes were fading, but flakes began to swirl around the streetlight outside the window. We fell asleep with a dusting and woke up to a blanket, its arrival heralded by the ecstatic squeals of excited boys. School was cancelled. Work was postponed. It wasn’t a Friday anymore, it had become a Snow Day: joyful, transient, unexpected and strangely outside of time.

Layer after layer of warm clothing was pulled on. Arms were wrestled into sleeves, toes swaddled in many socks and encased in snowboots. The kitchen table was piled high with woolens- hats, scarves and gloves. The sledge was lifted down from its hook in the shed and we were off to climb the highest hill, leaving behind a trail of footprints in swathes of crisp white.

At the top of the hill, our friends had gathered, towing sledges and carrying flasks of hot chocolate, pink-cheeked toddlers in backpacks and dogs leaping through drifts. For the children, the thrill of sledging was the greatest imaginable delight- careering down towards the valley, fields laid out below like a lacy quilt, squeals echoing through the crisp air.

Snow brings a peaceful timelessness to the landscape, making the world feel fresh and new, a dreamscape where anything is possible. It was the hushed, snow-muffled woods that stole my heart, where the well-worn paths now appeared untrodden, part of a delicate unfamiliar realm. A lattice of laden branches swayed overhead as the sunshine sparkled amongst the trees. Cloaked in white, the woods were beautiful but eerie, as if stepping into Narnia, or a Grimm’s fairy tale.

Fingers and noses growing cold, toes numb, and hair braided with white, we set off for the local pub to defrost – a Snow Day ritual that never grows tired. As I sat in the cosy bar and nursed a glass of wine, I couldn’t help but wonder: if I had strayed just a little further along the path in the woods, might I have found an unexpected lampost in a clearing, and met a faun in a red woollen muffler, carrying an armful of brown paper parcels…?

Perhaps on the next snow day, I shall.

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  • Perhaps you will! I love this post. It brings back memories of sledging down a steep hill in the Leicestershire countryside as a child. I still love snow. Winter is my favourite season. I seem to collect fur lined boots – ever hopeful that we will have snow!