So I’ve been reading Snow by Marcus Sedgwick (Little Toller Books, 2016) and it’s got me thinking about snow … a lot. OK, so yes, I am a huge fan of Sedgwick’s YA work – The Book of Dead Days, Snow White Blood Red, and The Ghosts of Heaven to name just a few. But it has been a while since I’ve read nonfiction. And this title popped up on my Amazon page and I thought: Why not?
It’s a good book. A short read, but very interesting and very informative. I’ve learned things I never knew about snow. It gets you thinking more about the different types of snow and of how snow has appeared in the Arts throughout history. I’d definitely recommend it if nature and science are your kind of thing. The Snow on Snow artwork by artist Peter Brook is also effective.
I guess more than anything though was this little passage here. It struck home to me thoughts I’d been having for a few years, but didn’t have the knowledge or statistics to back them up.
” … it’s impossible to avoid a matter about which the scientific community has had much to say … the changing nature of our climate. There seemed to be more snow in my childhood … But were the winters worse then?”
Were the winters worse then? Sedgwick is older than me by almost twenty years, but despite this, I have thought for a while that there seems to be less snow around than when I was eight or nine. I remember running off to a nearby park, throwing snowballs at my friends, swiping the thick layers of the cold stuff off the swing seats, as well as seeing who could hold onto the roundabout the longest without sliding off – don’t worry, the snow cushioned us all. We would wear gloves that seemed to only make the cold worse; soaking up the snow as it melted and freezing our little fingers off.
Snowmen competitions in the street were also a much enjoyed pastime. Raiding the fridge for carrots to stick in the faces an almost covert operation as we didn’t want our mothers to know what we were up to.
“What you up to?”
“What you got in your hand?”
“Put that back where you got it from.”
“But … why?”
“Because I said so.”
Seriously though, there seems to be much less snow nowadays. This book has got me thinking about what my daughter is possibly missing out on. She’s a few days shy of eight herself and I don’t think she’s ever been out to play in snow – not the thick amount of snow that used to fall when I was her age. She hasn’t experienced the magic of it, the pureness of it. Nature has a way of adding to your creativity. Games were much more creative when the ground was blanketed in the stuff.
It also seems that it will snow later now (or earlier in the year depending on how you look on it). Snow was a friend that usually showed up unannounced in December time. Now you’ll be lucky if any come down before late January. Do betting shops even take bets now for a white Christmas?
I’m not nearly educated enough to talk at length about climate change and whether or not this is why there seems to be less snow around, but I think it would be foolish for anybody to ignore that it could possibly be a heavy factor. With Earth’s temperature always rising, will there ever be a time when snow becomes extinct? A thing of the past?
Of course it’s naive to ignore how much of a nuisance snow is for adults, but putting the roads and the services and the damage snow causes aside for a moment, revert back to your child, innocent mind for just a moment. I think I miss how I saw snow when I was a kid. Snow was magical, it was a symbol of what was to come. Snow meant missing days of school and just losing yourself in the fluffiness of it. None of us cared that our gloves and clothes were soaked. None of us cared you couldn’t watch out for dog mess on the ground. Because snow, for a while anyway, closeted everything in its shroud. The world seemed to stop for snow and that was great.
If it snowed tomorrow I would layer up the clothes, put on a hat, and go and chuck myself in it. I’d lay there, look up into the sky and breathe in the silence only snow can offer. Snow is a beautiful thing. We should savour it in case it does go away and never comes back.