Head tilted to one side, resting on warm hands. A favourite mug with steam rising, condensing. Pupils wide, eyes soft, unfocused, transfixed by the countless millions of flakes, falling, drifting lazily from leaden skies.
I focus on one, watching white, fluff, cold, buffeted by invisible currents in the air. It slides from my vision but immediately another follows its path. And another. And another.
Deep, forest green trees picked out in 3D, shadows inverted, each leaf highlighted, frosted by a coating of whiter than white. Ice and glitter and still the flakes fall, incessant, urgent, drifting.
That muted crunch underfoot, the perfect outline, brand logo fleetingly imprinted on the untouched blanket, monotone, covering the familiar, creating a new landscape. The air dry yet damp, cold yet not bitter. Sounds slowly fade, that silence, that peace, descending and pervading all of our cracks and spaces, relentless and welcome.
The sting of those tiny ice flakes, whipped to a frenzy by gusts of wind, caught and flung over walls, up rolling hills, to arc in a fountain, a spray of snow, spiking and needling at bare skin, pink cheeks, pulling tears from eyes to reflect that joy, the wild spirit, the untamed simplicity of being out in a snowstorm.
The memories replayed, turning faces up to the sky, cocooned in hats and scarves. That forever vision, those infinite flakes. Softly now, they fall on expectant faces, whispering, chill for a moment before they melt, pure water, clean, clear.
That waiting, almost heavy time, before that crisp, white blanket is disturbed, churned up by tyres and grit, by feet and fingers, that few moments when a different world, familiar but so slightly removed, isn’t a dream away. It’s here and untouched and we can, for a moment at least, feel that we are the first, and we run and we jump and we make our mark, that first stamp, on that blank canvas stretching out all around us. We walk on and here we leave traces of our souls, visible for only a short time, the silent millions slowly filling in, smoothing over our soles, and everything is simple once again.