My friends woke up to this view of their garden in Kent on Sunday. Ralph Waldo Emerson describes snow in one of his poems as ‘a tumultuous privacy of storm.’ It’s the ultimate kind of insular. Everything gets to hide away until the melt – from grass and leaves to the lucky Kent kids who could get to stay at home and have a no-school day today.
If there were a heaven, it would have to feel something like this. Soft and padded and crunchy underfoot, life moving in slow mo. If you fall, you won’t get cut or bruised, or put your back out. You’ll fall softly and gently, perhaps bounce once or twice, giggle and get up.
But most of all, it’s about the absence of noise.
A few years ago, my sister and I were in New York on New Year’s morning. We leapt out of bed to pull up the blind and lift open the window, to check that the city that never sleeps was still awake, and hissing and grinding and doing what it does.
It wasn’t. New York had stopped. Heavy snow had fallen the night before. Cars were grounded, people out there were mostly walking, not driving. Hissing and grinding was replaced with a cool, slow, pantomime on ice of white-out, to a soundtrack of white noise spiked with the yelps of children having snowball fights filtering thinly through. What snow wants you to do is 1. Play. And 2. Take snapshots with your eyes. Looking onto something like this is the equivalent of Indian head massage for the eyes.
I would love to have been in Kent yesterday. I love how the snow painted my friends’ garden in tones of charcoal and sepia, making the forest look like it had been lifted from an antique engraving.