Monday, 9 January 2017

Let it snow

Oh how I wish it would, although at the same time we're really not good at snow in England. The thinnest of scatterings and our transport networks grind to a halt, our pavements (sidewalks) become so dangerous to walk on we find ourselves having to stroll down the middle of a road - believe me I'd rather take my chances again a bus on the road than I would risking a broken neck slipping on the pathways.  I love how it gives the twilight zone a blue hue before taking on an almost ghostly appearance once the sun has finally set and the white streetlights have switched on. I love how waking in the morning you see grey skies, then a vast expanse of white when your eyes make their way downwards. That virgin snow, untouched by animals or humans just calls for someone to walk upon it, while at the same time it's so very sad when someone has done for a little of the magic is removed - I like to think when this happens though the magic then moves onto the person/animal that has disturbed it all. I know I always feel quite magical when I've walked through it - if a little cold at times. Yes, it can be dangerous, treacherous and lonely - if you live in a secluded property and find yourself snowed in I should think it could make you a little stir crazy (let us not forget what happened at the Overlook Hotel when the occupants found themselves snowed in!!).

I follow a lot of places I want to visit on Instagram. Just recently most of those have been sharing images of their snow-covered places. Yellowstone has been blanketed in recent weeks and while it means some routes, trails and roads are closed it does lend itself to a photographic image. How stunning is the photo? Of course seeing all the images does make me want to be there even more (if that's possible) so maybe it's not such a good thing to keep checking them on a daily basis :)

Will we get any snow where I live? Doubtful, very doubtful. In my 46 years on this planet I remember only 3 times when we had snow enough to actually get out and play in it. Once before my brother was born so sometime before 1978, another in what I guess was 1981/82 as there are photo's of me pushing my brother about on a tray (we were too poor for a sled) outside our parking area at home. The other time was just a few years ago (I think it was 2010). I remember seeing a weather forecast that morning saying the south coast (where I live) was going to get some; I never believed it. Then I got a photo message from my brother working in Oxford showing me his works car park - it was covered. I'd thought about how the weather person had said it would get to us about 3.30 that afternoon, so told my brother (who had an 89 mile journey to get home from work) that maybe he should make a move "just in case". His bosses wouldn't let him and made him stay until 5pm. At 3.55pm the first flakes landed outside the shop. By 4.15p, I could see how bad it was getting so locked up to go home. My friend had borrowed my car to go and do a job at a town just 7 miles from us. He'd left at 4, told me it wasn't bad where he was and he'd be back in time for me to leave. By 5 he'd got as far as the motorway when it all ground to a halt. I ended up having to take the works van home - rear while drive with no traction made for a very interesting drive. I phoned my brother at 6 to see how he was getting on and his journey had been clear - he said he'd "not seen a flake since getting out of Oxford". He had just 5 miles to go to home when I called him. He came over a hill on the A3 and ground to a halt at 6.10pm. Many phone conversations ensued between him and me, and me and the friend in my car. At midnight my brother had not even moved a mile (he finally got home just before 6am). I told my friend to leave my car on the hard shoulder and walk home - he'd managed to get less than 3/4 of a mile away by 9 and not moved since; he finally got home at 2am.  What should have been a 1.5 hour journey for my brother took nearly 13 hours, for my friend a 20 minute journey took 7 hours. It was absolutely ridiculous. Our services knew what was going to happen, had been warned, took no notice and as such people were abandoned. Some ran out of fuel so couldn't even heat their cars while they waited, sitting in traffic, watching nothing but more snow falling. Ever since that day I have always made sure I have a blanket, water and some kind of food in my car - just in case, and I never do a journey with less than half a tank or fuel. They were the lucky ones though; I heard of some people who were stuck for over 24 hours. That side of snow is most definitely not quite so nice. The whiteness, the landscape photo opportunities are more than worth it. 

Of course I'd not go to Yellowstone when there is a chance roads could be closed. I plan on going in either May or October. There may well be snow about then - when I did my whistle stop tour I saw snow on the Grand Teton tops and on the edge of Yellowstone Lake there was enough to make a snowball. I don't want to travel all that way to find I can't get to places, see the things I want to see, take the photo's I'm hoping to capture. I love the winter so summer would be a no-go for me anyway, but the beginning of spring or middle of autumn (fall) would work well for me. Warm enough not to have to wrap up too much, cool enough not to cook. Perfect. 

If you're looking out of your windows right now upon snow, spare me a thought. I'd love to be sitting there with you. 




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