Monday, 11 February 2013

In the land of snowy hills

Is there anything more likely to make us forget our adult condition than a good snowfall? In January, as I watched the snow first falling, then sticking, I was as giddy as my children and memories knocked of winters past.

My own dad has been always ready for adventure whatever the weather, but he particularly relished a good deep snowfall as a special opportunity for fun. We had a sledge that had been made by my granddad, solid and strong with room enough for two. Ox-like, my dad would drag us through the snow with no discernible effort; my brother and I hushed by the stillness of the muffled world we moved through. I have no recollections of feeling cold on these play days, only laughing faces bathed in pinkish ice-light. We'd always head to the same spot, a hole in the ground we called the quarry, with sides so steep only my dad would sledge them. Of the three of us it was my dad, I'm sure, who had the most fun.

Unfortunately for my boys I am not so sturdy; no tireless pulling of sledges up hills for them, poor things. But even so, we made the most of the wintry lands. Much sledging was done, with friends and by ourselves, on hills of all lengths and gradients. Each day we ventured out until our noses and fingers tingled and little boy's tears ran down frozen rosy cheeks. Returning home to mountains of steaming boots, socks and gloves sitting about radiators and  freely flowing hot chocolate was almost as pleasurable as the outings themselves.

There is a special magic, I think, in snowy days for us parents - the snow's transience encouraging us to put our adult anxieties on hold for a few days and unite with our children in pure joyful excitement. I'm fairly sure my dad understands this, he has always been an expert at embracing playful moments

The snow has come again, but this time only a thin and threadbare sheet lies upon the ground. February winds on, still wrapped in winter's colours. This month often tests the spirit, offering hopeful glimpses of shining days of sun then snatching them away to replace them with the very worst of the season's offerings. But I have heard the birds at the opening and closing of the days, limbering up their voices. I have seen the citrus green of opening hawthorn buds and I have sniffed the air and caught a freshness upon the wind. Winter's days are surely numbered; may their snowy gifts of fun and child-like wonder take us through these last weeks with hope and good humour.


Ian Hill said...

Ah, there's nothing as lovely as snow, is there? Your pictures really capture the excitement of snow as a child. One of the finest things about home education (we have 2 home-educated boys, also) is the ability to drop everything when the snow falls, or when the sun shines, or any other natural world excuse.

Selina Gough said...

Hi Ian! Always good to hear of others home educating - it can feel a little lonely out here on the fringes. Yes, I was grateful that we could just go out and make the most of it. I love your writings by the way - really great to have you drop in.

Melanie said...

Wonderful post, Selina! Such beautiful snow-light in your photos. There really is something so powerful in that beauty and transience of snow, isn't there... Your words and photos convey so perfectly how it makes us want to catch the joy and the sharing - both reliving and making memories...

Selina Gough said...

Thanks Melanie. I've been having a wee bit trouble getting my words out there recently. Reading so many beautifully written blogs has me a little daunted I think...your comments are much appreciated.