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The cold, happy, short-lived people

After weeks of depressing news, wet weather and dark skies, temporary relief arrived in the form of SNOW. It wasn’t half-hearted; it wasn’t wet and slushy; it wasn’t accompanied by biting winds. What’s more, it fell, conveniently, on a Sunday morning. With no home-schooling, no Zoom meetings scheduled, no piles of papers waiting to be processed, children and adults tumbled joyfully out from their warm homes to build a nation of snowmen (snowpeople?) and the occasional snowdog. The sky was light, the grime of modernity was whitewashed over and all traffic ceased, as the ludic took over from the worried and depressed.

Our own creation sported an organic carrot nose and a red plant pot hat and settled happily on our white lawn.


Never have I seen so many snowmen. Every garden sported one, the pavement was littered with all shapes, sizes and genders of snow-white people and animals, and on the downs it looked as though there had been an alien invasion.








… And then the thaw set it. Slowly, sadly, the brave white creatures shed tears. Inevitably their beauty faded away, as the whole world returned to the normal mix of good, bad and indifferent. Consequently, there are now damaged snow-beings in all our gardens and limping their way to nothingness on the downs.

What is to be done? Obviously this isn’t a very important, or even sensible question, and we all have more pressing concerns on our minds at present. But after providing us with so much fun and delight last weekend, I think we owe it to them to at least consider a graceful demise.

One possibility to would to use them as wintry Aunt Sallies, and compete with each other in aiming snowballs at them until they surrender. This is not a great idea, however, first because if there were enough snow to make snowballs, most members of the tribe would still be confidently displaying their handsome shapes, so such a massacre would be premature; and secondly because one doesn’t really want to encourage any such form of aggression and war-play.

We could rush out and try to sculpt the remaining pillars into interesting new forms; but the moment has passed: we are back at work, the pristine white snow has been replaced with a patina of mud-speckling, grit and grass.

It might be possible to lift the whole item into a bucket, imprison it with a lid, and keep the soft snow-melt for future use, but that would not be a very dignified end for a noble creature; and the number of buckets that might be needed would get in the way in the garden.

If you’ve got a good idea for a worthy sequel to our fun and games last weekend, please let me know. But in the meantime, I intend to look out of my window at our snowman with affection each day, watch him diminish and melt down into the earth, to nourish new life and then be replaced by welcome signs of spring.