I work in the loft. For the past few days the skylights have been covered in snow making it a gloomy, sun-deprived place. I look up, expecting to see the sky, and am confronted by the underside of a layer of snow of who knows what depth. It could be a snowdrift as high as a bus, for all I know. I feel like Mole in Wind in the Willows, snowed in for the winter. The truth is I can just wander down stairs and walk out of the front door. But there’s something viscerally affecting about looking up at the blocked out window. It makes me want to hunker down. I imagine myself working my way through a pantry’s worth of preserves. Snow brings out the hermit in me.
Yesterday I overcame my reluctance to go out and spent a couple of hours with my son building a snow man in the back garden. We were going to build it at the front of the house, but a couple of weeks ago, in the last snow fall, we left the sledges out the front and they got stolen. I was afraid someone might steal the snowman, so we moved to the back.
Snowman turned out to be a snow woman. By the name of Snosephine, apparently. She’s still there, a spooky presence looking wistfully towards the house. Reminded me what a great story The Snowman is, how everyone who builds a snowman – or a snow woman – secretly dreams of it coming alive. Actually, if our creation came to life, I think it would be more at home in a Stephen King story, than in Raymond Briggs’.
This weather sends us inside, looking out wistfully, thinking of all the places we need to get to but can’t. While the snowman stares fixedly back at us, forlorn, obsessed, more than a little sinister.