I tried to photograph it falling.
But it wouldn’t be captured.
Ah Snow. So fleeting. So elusive.
I am a child when it comes to snow. Probably because I didn’t know it until Europe, in my mid twenties. So I’m effectively only about six or seven in snow-years. When I was growing up the closest I got to snow was Snowball, the fluffy white cat next door. I was so captivated by that cat I wanted to call everything white Snowball. At Brownie Guides we knocked on doors and sold snowballs for charity. Those snowballs were spongy mounds of white marshmallow dunked in a thin layer of cheap chocolate and then sprinkled with coconut flakes, an Australian staple. I loathed them. But they were sweet so I stole them anyway. In Australia the closest thing you get to snow (in the cities) is when you spray some crappy foam over your Christmas tree or when you lean your fake-tan streaked, over-accessorised décolletage towards the mirrored top of the toilet paper dispenser in the ladies’ bathroom at Redheads nightclub when you’re 23. It’s just not part of your life. You can’t even fathom the real thing.
So the first time you see real snow fall over rooftops, you melt into a pool of your former self. You’re in a fairytale. And the thrill never quite wears off. You can’t help expressing your bewilderment in loud Ooohs and Wows and Ohmygoodnessit’sSNOWINGs. For a normal bunny that might be embarrassing, or demonstrate a lack of sophistication. But at a posh dinner party I will always fall to my knees in front of a window if snow begins to fall outside. It’s just so breathtaking. So… pure.
I mean, it turns the world white. It erases all the browns and greys and sharp edges, turning everything to cake with sugar icing on top. All is gingerbread. You could eat houses, cars, bikes, entire streets.
And it exists. You can see it. You can hold it. You can make balls of it and hurl it really hard at the back of your friend’s head. You can lie in it and make angels. You can catch a tiny flake on its descent and watch it melt in your palm. You can’t do that with dumb old rain.
But it’s transient too, like all the most fascinating things. It doesn’t hang around long enough for you to get bored of it. Even if you live in Norway, you know at some stage it’s going to go. So that makes it even more magical.
I suppose at the North Pole you’d get used to it all year round. You probably get annoyed with it dumping overnight and blocking the driveway to your igloo. But even then, all that pure white must still feel remarkable as you hoon around on your sled driven by huskies. It must always feel like a dream. Like Narnia.
And it feels heavenly on your head.
And it sits on your hat and your gloves like those particular flakes have chosen you.
And it’s dangerous to walk on, though it looks so soft and lovely and safe.
And you can eat it, even though it’s come from the filthy Paris sky.
I won’t have it fall on my head this winter because I’m under house-arrest. But I’ll still watch it every day at the window like that creepy kid who wasn’t allowed out to play, standing there looking out over the neighbourhood in their nightgown. And sometimes I will open the window and put my hand out and try and see the snowflake design in my palm before it melts. And I will be grateful because aside from being in the snow the loveliest thing in the world is to watch it from a warm house, maybe with a fireplace crackling and probably with something red in a glass in your hand. Jus de framboise in my case.