Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Walking in a Winter Wonderland



Yesterday was the shortest day of the year, and I spent the last two hours of dusky daylight walking through a steadily falling snow.  Okay Winter, all is forgiven:  it was absolutely magical.

Snow causes havoc in England, and all day long I've heard stories of people being stranded in their cars, but we (safe at home) couldn't help but revel in the stuff.  My husband, father and I walked deep into the forest -- and every scene was like a Christmas card come to life.  I kept fumbling to get my gloves off so that I could take pictures . . . although I missed my favorite scene of the day, when a couple and their glossy dog bounded out of the woods, arms laden with pine boughs.

My father and I sang every song we could think of with "snow" in the lyrics.  Over the ground lies a mantle of white . . .



Years ago, (Christmas 1999, to be precise), we also got a big snow right before Christmas.  I have a treasured memory of walking down a dark lane, slipping and sliding in the treacherous snow, to arrive at our friends' house.  They had a huge open fire, and we sat around it -- drinking mulled wine and eating mince pies.  It seemed to encompass most of the wonderful elements of Christmas:  the warmth contrasting with the cold, the sharp smell of pine, and the rich taste of brandied fruit.  And friends and family, of course.  And laughter.  And the feeling that time was suspended just a bit, just long enough to enjoy it all.

Chestnuts roasting on a open fire.  Jack Frost nipping at your nose.

Last night, in a piece of magical symmetry, these same friends came over for dinner.  (In the ensuing years, we moved to Texas for five years, and they've moved house, too; but by chance we have ended up in the same village once again.)  By dinner-time, the roads were impassable; we live at the bottom of the hill, and they live at the top.  They took a footpath that cuts through a farmer's fields, and arrived, bundled and booted and covered with snow.   We were waiting, with mulled wine and hot cider and candles lit all over the house.  Somehow, I think that I will remember the sight of them at the door -- all of us laughing -- forever.



Today is a quiet day between many days of seasonal socializing.  Everyone has retreated to his or her own corner, to read, or watch a film, or catch up with blogging!  I took another long snowy walk, this time by myself, and just enjoyed the silence of it all.

I couldn't decide if these boys were trying to build the biggest ball ever (in the deserted football field), or a base layer of a snowman. 

In the meadow we can build a snowman . . .

Last night, when I attempted to put my wired-up daughter to bed, I discovered that she was all tucked up under her blankets and quilts . . . and eating a rather large snowball!

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!




Still, still, still
One can hear the falling snow . . .

39 comments:

ewix said...

Yes, yes, what bliss!
So glad you have got the spirit of the season.
It does, indeed look like a winter wonderland....
we must treasure the memories.

Cyndy said...

Bee,

Thank you, again, for another wonderful holiday postcard! It is so good to hear that the music is dancing in your heart and among the snowy footsteps.

What a wonderful story about your friends. Sweet serendipity.

I hope the merry notes of the season stay with you and yours well after the new year! Merry Christmas!

Cyndy

Shaista said...

Oh it is exactly like living inside a Christmas card!! I have never seen snow like this, deeply pretty and not yet turned to yucky slush (except on the edges of the roads)..
How is your brother? Where will he be this Christmas I wonder? I do hope he is alright xxx

Polly said...

I'm enjoying the snow too, despite all the havoc it causes! I love all your snow stories, I also didn't mind walking for an hour and a half home yesterday when the tube shut. I only hope it will clear a bit tomorrow because I'm heading home and I REALLY want to get there by Christmas... Have a lovely Holiday and see you very soon!

ArtSparker said...

Wow, eating snow under the covers...that's precious, I mean in a good way.

steven said...

oh bee! oh so very gorgeous, all of it!!! i love synchronicity because it tells about being in the right place and about deeper connections and especially it's usually a good time!!! have a lovely christmas time. steven

spudballoo said...

Oh beautiful...I can smell it and hear the laughter. Happy Christmas to you Lovely Bee xx

kristina said...

Oh lucky you with all that gorgeous snow! Just a dusting here, now turning to muck and slush: not nearly so magical...! K x

Sarah Laurence said...

It worked! I've been wishing some of or our snow your way. I'm relieved that you were safe at home enjoying it, as I've heard horror stories from a country not prepared to deal with it.

I love how you blended the song, prose and images in this delightful post. How magical that your friends were there to enjoy the snow and laughter once again.

I don't have to wish you a Happy Christmas as it clearly will be one.

Cláudia said...

Your mixture of images and written texts has rendered a masterpiece here! Visiting your blog is always so rewarding! Merry Christmas!

Michelle said...

I just love this post! I have spent all my life in a very snowy place in Michigan and it is still so magical when the first snow of the season falls.

Kelly H-Y said...

Oh, this post is beautiful. The words, the pictures .... the thought of your daughter eating a snowball under her warm covers ... you captured the magical feeling of Christmas beautifully!

iNdi@ said...

the more it snows
tiddely pom
the more it snows
tiddely pom
the more it goes
tiddely pom
on snowing! [with apologies to Winnie the Pooh]

oh how i wish i were there too. we have 40 degrees C whatever that is in F and i don't have a single heat-seeking gene in my body.
have a wonderful Christmas!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Isn't it just the most magical concoction ever? Snow makes everything right.

Marcheline said...

Just lovely.

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Nancy said...

Beautiful post, Bee! Snow is so magical. We left two feet of the white stuff to spend the holidays in the rain. I must say - it's just not quite the same!

Blessings to you and yours this special season!

A Modern Mother said...

It has been wonderful. We were one of the ones stuck for hours. I finally abandonded the car and walked the two miles home. My daughter thought it was quite the adventure!

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

Bee

Thank-You for sharing your magical walk and winter with us. The pictures are gorgeous!

I wish you a very Merry Christmas, Bee

Best
Tracy :)

Reya Mellicker said...

How blissful this whole post is - the words and images and your happiness. Wow!!

Yes snow is magical and cleansing and so so so beautiful, especially when you've got everything you need (including the candles) and have people you care about close at hand.

Thank you for this! It's beautiful. Happiest Christmas!

Nimble said...

OH I loved hearing that your daughter was eating snow in bed! What a creative kid. I hankered for snow to eat when I was younger. Something about that texture and the pure cold (non)taste.

That snow dusted signpost looked quite Narnian. Good for you and your menfolk for going out to enjoy it.

LadyFi said...

I used to live in southern England where snow was rare. I now live in Sweden so see the snow every year.

I heartily agree with you - it's magical! I hope it sticks around for a bit.

herhimnbryn said...

Oh Thankyou for this! How I miss such scenes.
Happy Christmas Bee to you and yours.
love HHB

Anne said...

Hooray! After your last post here, I was hoping that something Christmassy would lift your spirits, and it sounds like it has! It's such a lovely, cozy picture you paint (yes, I find walking in the snow cozy--perhaps it has to do with bundling up), and I can't think of any better way to enjoy the run-up to Christmas.

Fantastic Forrest said...

Blissful.

How many of these did you sing? :-)

Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
What The Snowman Learned About Love- Stars
Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! - Dean Martin
Snowsuit Sound - Sloan
20 Years of Snow - Regina Spektor
Snowed In - Joel Plaskett Emergency
Snowblind Friend - Steppenwolf
Snowmobile Song-Stompin' Tom Conners
By-Tor and the Snow Dog - Rush
Snowbird - Anne Murray
Footprints in the Snow - Mac Wiseman
On a Snowy Christmas Night - Elvis Snow (Hey Oh)- Red Hot Chili Peppers
Snowmen - Barenaked Ladies
Snow White Queen - Evanescence
Snowblind - Black Sabbath

A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

Wishing you a very Happy Holiday, Bee!

Catherine xx

Lucy said...

Oh I'm glad you're blissed out with winter now!

Happy Christmas Bee, and thanks for the blog friendship.

Angie Muresan said...

So very, very lovely!! Merry Christmas to you!

Christina said...

Merry Christmas, friend.
And I adore each one of these photos.
xo

julochka said...

thank goodness for the white christmas and the memories it helps us make.

xox,
/j

Lisa said...

You're making me miss the snow, just a little.

Dick said...

The snow's gone now and Christmas is past, but I hope that celebration is still in place chez toi. All the very best for 2010, Bee.

Merisi said...

Thank you, dear Bee,
for your wonderful gift of story telling!
I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in your latest stories, this here and "Enduring" - such a treat.
I wished I could find a magic may to bring you here, yesterday and today have been blue sky winter days. I drove one of my daughters to the airport this morning, just as a big orange winter sun was rising in the east.

Happy Christmas days,
Merisi

Doreen said...

This sounds absolutely amazing!!! A perfect winter evening and exactly the way snow should be cherished and enjoyed.

I myself am a very big snow lover:)

The story of your friends is so wonderful...it is as if the snow was meant to happen when you are all together :)

Wishing you a happy New Year,
Doreen

Jan said...

A lovely post Bee and I love your phrase" magical symmetry"!
Book or story title? What do you think?
Happy New YeaR!

Relyn said...

This is a lovely, wonderful post from a full heart and a lovely, wonderful life. But, my favorite part is when you found your daughter sitting up in bed eating a snow ball. I burst out laughing because I can totally imagine my daughter doing the very same thing. If only we had enough snow.

Lucy said...

And a happy New Year, Bee!

Ji said...

Hello:

Winter Wonderland, How beautiful!

I love snow, and appreciate your positive reflections of the snow seasons.

Happy 2010,
Sweet Dreams.

http://www.jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com
welcome.