Self-Portrait with Snow


As I write this I am sitting warmly indoors looking out at a snow-covered garden to the fields and river beyond.  The bare tree branches are swaying in the cold easterly wind and a thick layer of snow carpets every horizontal surface.  ‘The beast from the east’ has struck and left we rural folk incarcerated – the small lane outside our home buried deep beneath ice and snow and completely impassable.   Only the farmer’s tractor taking hay to the sheep and lambs is able to negotiate these conditions.

I have a love / hate relationship with snow.  As a child I welcomed it – a day off school and a chance to build snowmen and go tobogganing in the local park.  But in suburbia  the snow melted quickly and if the side roads were tricky the main roads were clear.  Now I live in the countryside and snow makes life hazardous – difficult for humans and animals alike.  No papers, no post, no deliveries, the buses don’t run, we can’t venture beyond our drive, even the cats have cabin fever!

However, this obligatory incarceration is good in many ways.  Time to catch up with emails, update my journal, think about making new work.  The day moves deliciously slowly and I slow my pace to match.  Light the fire, read the paper, dig out that book of poetry which I bought but didn’t get around to reading.  Even the cat has a fighting chance of being undisturbed on my lap for more than 10 minutes.

The view from the window is also worth contemplating.  Skies turn from steel grey to silver grey to blue and then back to white as at first snowflakes whirl and then another blanket of snow descends.  I listen to the wind and the birds, vaguely aware of the bleating protests of nearby sheep and the rumble of a distant train.

No traffic, no hedge-cutters, no human sound to disturb the silence, other than the occasional plane passing overhead.  Just music playing in the next room and the tapping of my keyboard.  How often does that happen?  So I’m just enjoying the moment until the snow melts and ‘normality’ returns.

Stay warm, safe and well until ‘the beast’ has done its worst and departed.