Is it just me, or did you wake up this morning wondering what day it was? All this snow disruption: days off work, shops shut, no public transport, schools closed, snow day bleeding into snow day. It is confusing and disorientating. After the initial excitement over loads of white stuff falling from the sky in parts of the country that usually see so little of it, seeds of frustration have begun to sprout in me. I am exasperated by the disruption. Oh, ye of little patience. Try as I might to go with the flow, to allow nature to take its course, I have an underlying feeling of disconcertion. I want to wake up tomorrow and have it disappear, like a melting dream that you can’t hold onto. It’s here for a while though and will serve as a good lesson for me in adapting, juggling my plans, looking to alternative activities.
Out on the backgreen, one of my neighbours is industriously building an igloo. I watch him moving quickly and purposefully with a shovel and shaping the dome. He is packing the snow tightly, rendering the three-foot walls sturdy. I imagine his daughter – with whom he built a snowman yesterday – has gone out on a milk search with her mum. It looks like he’s trying to complete it as a surprise before she comes home. No sitting in and ruminating for Mr. Shovel. With resolute determination, knowing he can build an igloo only every five years or so, he has set to: carpe diem. Watching him I am learning my lesson for the day: resist feeling like a caged bird, get up and get out there.
Yet, with all this moaning of mine, here is the thing: I am one of the lucky ones. I have nowhere to be or nothing in particular to do. Nobody is relying on me. I can, if I go carefully, make my way through the snow and return to a warm house. I am jolted from feeling distracted by the disorder when I hear about the Scottish surgeon who walked for three hours to get to hospital to carry out an urgent operation. I am in admiration of teachers who made it into a residential school to care for pupils with disabilities. I am heartened to hear of neighbours calling on each other, looking out for those who really are stuck indoors, caught short of essentials. I am sorry for those people who have set out on journeys with the best of intentions, or on urgent missions, and have become unstuck. It brings to mind T.S. Eliot’s, ‘Journey of the Magi’:
“A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
And the very dead of winter”
E. and S. are still here with me, ‘stuck’ as trains and buses remain off. We’re not going to build an igloo but we’re going to make our way down to the Water of Leith. Kingfishers were spotted there last week. They might have sought cover in this weather, but it is a good reason for an excursion, and spotting one would be quite the thing to lift one’s spirits. Boots on. Here goes.