Monday, 2 February 2009

Snow Day Spring

I have a mobile. I don't like it and I never wanted one. All the same I have one. I delight it letting the battery go dead and leaving it at home. This time it lasted a month. Alas it found itself on charge last night in order to awaken me as F was starting work earlier than I wished to wake up.

So imagine my disgust when it started humming away at 6.30, a full 30 minutes before I had even contemplated opening my eyes. I didn't recognise the number and ignored it. Ten minutes later. Again. But I must have lost signal as it stopped before I could pick it up. I listened to my messages and discovered that someone had rung me the previous week about a photography job at a London school. And they rang again while I listened to my messages, and left another message.

I knew that the whole of United Kingdom was waiting for snow and she was rather worried about whether to try and get into London or not. Apparently London had been hard hit and she wasn't sure the school would be open. Feeling a little ungracious, I texted her, sorry you have the wrong number.

By this time I was somewhat awake however and the chances of me getting back to sleep were slim. I had decided back at New Year to plant my resolution / wishes on Imbolc. I had since decided that what I wanted to do was cast them into the wind from the top of a particularly big hill that lurks ont he landscape hereabouts. It seemed to me a good idea to head up there and do this before work.

Somehow all my extra time vanished without me even trying. I found myself at work ten minutes early with wishes unscattered. As the day went on the reports of snow headed towards our little south western corner. Just after lunch we had our first shower. It went on it''s way and the sun shone from a blue sky. Then another followed by more blue sky. Then another even heavier and the snow was starting to stick. The company decided to send us all home.

Now this may seem an odd decision to those of you who live in colder parts of the world. That we should be sent hom for mere snow showers. But ability to drive in the snow decreases as you go south in the UK and panic at the sight of snow increases as you go south. By the time you get as far down as we are here, the merest sniff of snow and the roads jam up and people are distraught(maybe a slight exageration, but not much).

A few years back I was working in Truro when the famous Cornish Blizzard hit. We were sent home. I left work and started up the dual carriageway up a steep hill. And then everything stopped. For four hours I watched my office sitting serenely in the snow at the bottom of the hill, container of toilets, warmth and tea. I watched cars at the top slip gently back as they lost their grip. Nobody came down the other side except for a coach, with his driver doing little mini controled skids all the way.

I called F and told him I might not get home, which he laughed at and repeated to the whole office. They all laughed to. "Why?" he askes. Later the snow hit them and then they stopped laughing. Eventually a tractor drove down the central reservation. A short while later it went back up again with a teenage girl wearing a school uniform sat in the back. The tractor then stopped at the top and began pulling cars and vans up. Finally we began to move. It took me a very long time to get home.

So back to today. I know the snow has been very, very heavy elsewhere. i knew the blue sky as I left the office was not likely to last. I knew that although most of the snow on the roads was gone already, that it would soon be replaced. So what do I decide to do?

I decided to drive on the little tiny country roads to reach the far side of the big hill. I decided to drive up the little tiny track to the top of said big hill. As I neared the top, it started to snow again. From the top I could see the snow showers like fluffy marshmallows on the land below rolling in from the sea. Behind it was blue sky. Well at least it was for another minute or two. And then I could no longer see the marshmallow for I was stood in it. On top of a very large hill. Clutching 5 little wish seeds. there were seven but my household guardian, tiring of the mess threw them at me when I wasn't looking and ran off with two of them.

I threw them into the wind and mutteres some impromptu words. And ran off. Quickly. All the time wishing I could stay here and continue to admire this beautiful white land. The track down was already white and I crawled down to the road below. Back home took me down the sides of the hill a different way and it was an interesting drive.

I reached home as F was getting out of his car and once in the house, I told him where I had been. He gave me a long look and shook his head in despair. To be honest I am not really the most courageous of people at times. The only thing that could make me go there on day like today was a promise. Shame that life had tried to get me to go there before work to watch the sun rise, in complete safety. I also have a tendency to do things the difficult way... But at least I did it...

Oh one other little thing... There is a piece of folklore I came across. Cailleach, a Scottish and Irish Goddess who is the Mother of Winter, rules from the Samhain to Beltain while Brigid rules from Beltane to Samhain. On Imbolc, Cailleach likes to go and collect firewood for her fire so she may stay warm for the rest of the nasty hard winter she brings. Because she likes to be warm and snug, she likes to make Imbolc a fair day. Some years however, she forgets, and sleeps in. If the weather is bad on Imbolc she has overslept and forgotten to get more fire wood, as a consequence, the grip of winter will be lessen soon as she won't have enough to last... So winter should REALLY be over soon then....

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