The Isle of Bute doesn’t get much snow usually. This morning it is settled too deep to put the rubbish out. The front steps form a series of steeply undulating curves. The wooded slope to the rear of our house, an enchanted forest.
I last encountered snow like this ten years ago, when I was living in London. Children sledding in Manor Park, the ducks, confined to one small area of an otherwise frozen pond. I remember leaving work early, anxious to reach home before the railway network shut down completely. Pulling out of Shadwell on the DLR, snow gusting against the windows, the stations closing one by one as the train passed through.
I remember when I was small: collecting icicles, storing them in the ice box, they were so huge, so beautiful. I didn’t want them to die. Completing the ‘barefoot challenge’ in a race with my brother: three times around the house, no socks, no shoes.
A fortnight ago, and a drive through the Trossachs: Callander, Loch Katrine, the Duke’s Pass, sere and glorious, a landscape from an epic quest. Snow still lying at the roadside from the last snowfall. A ‘road closed’ sign, which we hesitated over and then ignored, seeing cars running safely through from the opposite side.
The Duke’s Pass this morning would be impassable.
This morning I went barefoot to put the rubbish out, not wanting to drag snow inside the house, or soak my clothes.