It’s always the anticipation that gets to me. The thought that we might have snow at Christmas or in the early part of the New Year. If it snows, the excitement that we may snowed in. Listening and watching the news and social media with their gloomy prognostications, the sense of anticipation grows.
No matter that it may cause massive problems for those needing to reach their workplaces; for those who are farmers with crops or livestock to consider; for those on errands of mercy (and I do appreciate that for those people there are real issues). For me as for many others, snow does not lose its fascination, bringing back memories as a child and young adult playing in the snow; with the snowballs and snowmen and frosted windows.
Even when working in Tottenham in the 1980’s when there was several weeks of snow and ice one year, I tottered round on my heels from one visit to another on the icy side streets, revelling in the challenge of keeping upright. I was younger and a lot more reckless then.
Now, living in Devon, I had not expected snow this year so close to Spring. Our first year here had been quite mild compared to the south east of England where we were previously. I could understand Dartmoor having snowfall as it is a lot higher, but not in the area where we now live.
Then the news and the weather forecast turns their focus to Devon – a red alert no less! There will be heavy snow and blizzards here. And my heart begins to sing.
Waking up last Thursday morning and eagerly looking out of the window, I could see no snow. By the time I ventured out to get my daily paper, the first sprinkling of snowflakes had begun. Gentle and hesitant, it began to change the colour of the pavement and gardens to a monochromic colour.
The breeze blew small clouds of flakes away flying into the air again and as the cars go by; white spirals like dust devils form, then disappear. The whole area seems quiet and subdued. But this is just preparation for the major show.
There is a break.
Then slowly, gradually picking up speed and without stopping, the snowflakes flow. If it was rain, it would be noisy but there is a dampening down of all noise. And the level of the snow begins to rise. At home, looking across to where the moor should be, I can see nothing; they are blocked from view with this continuous moving veil.
We go to bed at night with the snow continuing and wake up to a blanket of the white stuff. Walking to the village store, not anticipating a paper (and so not disappointed either), I notice that the road is so quiet for that time of day. The walk is fun, the snow being a blank sheet to place my boots upon (and to sink through).
The rest of the day is spent just looking out at our gardens in the front and rear looking for activity and wondering how long this three to four inch depth of snow will last.
A news broadcast tells of another change. We are to have freezing rain, something I’d never heard of before. I had seen freezing fog some years ago and I wondered how this was going to change things.
The following day on another trip to the village store (but really just to enjoy the weather), I found a difference in the snow as I walked. Whereas the day before, it was almost soundless, Saturday’s snow was crunchy and more difficult to walk through. And there were more people out for a walk, enjoying the day’s challenge. The other effect of the freezing snow could be seen on stationary vehicles. They seemed to be encapsulated in ice in a wavy pattern. And not just vehicles, as our conservatory windows had the same pattern and couldn’t be seen through.
Looking out of the window, we saw a few birds that we hadn’t seen before. We found out that they were red wings, a type of thrush. They kept us entertained for most of the day with their antics.
But all things end. And slowly rising temperatures together with more rain (not freezing this time) brought about a thaw. On my way to church on Sunday, I could see the snow had changed colour from white to a dirty brown, the amount slowly dying away. In its stead, the brilliant green of the fields appeared. Until next time.