I wake up to screams of joy. Children shrieking. For a moment, I am confused. Aren’t they supposed to be at school? Then I remember we are in our umpteenth lockdown and schools are closed. As I open my eyes, I blink at the overly bright light flooding the room. The sun is already high up in the sky. It feels warm despite the heating not being on. I look towards the source of those high-pitched squeals. Soft fluffy flakes spiral down as though they are being blown by a gust of wind.
Excited, I jump out of bed and rush to the window. As I glance out, a picture-perfect scene spreads right in front of my eyes: snow-capped roofs, newly-clothed trees stand as proud as a snow queen. In my neighbour’s garden, three children are chasing each other, throwing white gleaming balls. A small girl in a bright pink ski-suit lays on her back on the glistening ground, making a snow angel. Wow, what a beautiful scene. I feel goosebumps forming on my skin. The long-awaited snow is finally here.
Snow that has fallen soundlessly during my sleep. Snow that I have not seen for a few years. Snow that I love and miss. I am surprised – though I should not be. A couple of days ago, the Met Office warned of potential heavy snow that would sweep across the South-East. But as usual, I did not pay much attention. Potential does not mean actual. Temperatures barely reach below -1 degree Celsius around this part of the country. Also, we have not often seen a thick white blanket covering the ground. For that reason, I did not think it would snow. Oh, how wrong I was!
This magical landscape right in front of my eyes, takes my breath away. I grab my phone and open the window wide. The coldness bites my face and I shiver in my flannel pyjamas. I ignore the feeling. How long will it keep snowing? It might be the only chance I get to capture some everlasting memorable pictures. As I start clicking, I feel emotional. In the days when my children were small, they too, would have made a snowman and indulged in a snowball fight. Nowadays they battle in the world of Minecraft.
Snow, though beautiful, is not always practical. It can be treacherous. Snowfall can cause transport disruption at short notice – frozen rails, signal failure and delayed timetables. As snow turns to ice, roads and pavements become slippery and increase a risk of fall. I still bear the scars from the time when I slipped and crashed into a brick wall. I had ongoing pain and a swollen wrist for nearly a month.
Lost in my thoughts, I put the real world on pause. I hardly notice the time. I need to get a move on though. I must get ready for work. Of course, I would rather hide underneath the covers, sipping a hot cocoa and watching falling snow through the window. Instead, I stretch my arm and try to catch one of the millions of snowflakes in my hand. Next, I tip my head backwards and let the icy-cold flutter melt on my tongue.
“Right, enough of that. Get those legs moving”.
After giving myself a pep talk, I choose what I will be wearing. Because the temperatures have plummeted, extra layers will be needed to protect me from the cold. I put together five layers of thermal under an arctic heavy coat, weatherproof boots, gloves, and a woollen hat. With the face mask, I will be barely recognisable.
A couple of hours later, dressed as a snowwoman, I am ready to battle the elements. Anxious, I step outside as nervous as a novice ice-skater. As I move across the snow, my footsteps are light and soundless. The snow is powdery and fine, and it feels like I am walking on a soft pillow. I look up at the blue sky and hope the temperatures stay the same. In all likelihood, its thick coat will last for at least two days. On my return home, I too, will build a snowman.