The sound of snow
filters through consciousness: when you wake, you know it is there, present in the absence of noise, the muffled hiss of a lone car slowly ploughing through. Excited bare feet scatter birdlike across the cold wooden floor, cold toes wriggle into woolly socks, hands snatch warm layers to draw against shivering skin, throw back the curtains: and there it is - the world, transformed.
Two feet deep, or more. The road is a borderless river of snow, the car's tracks at its centre faded by fresh falls into whipped cream. Fences, hedges and trees are loaded with generous helpings of sugar frosting: a Hansel and Gretel, edible world. In the distance the big house sparkles, sugar decoration on a high sugar hill. The sky is a creamy, cloudy yellow, so still and dense you could eat it with a spoon, and it would melt in your mouth. I want to mark the virgin white surface of my garden, and run to the door. Can't open it: there is a four-foot snowdrift up against it, blown there in the night. A phonecall brings people with spades, who dig me out. We make a snowman taller than myself from the diggings. Hands warming round hot mugs of tea by the fire, we hatch a plan for sledging: someone is dispatched on a mission to the pub, to find six large beer trays. They are found with surprising swiftness, and we make our slow way, slipping and snowballing, up to the sugar hill.
The snow is powdery on top, firm beneath. On the far side is a steep, perfect white slope. Laughing people in coats and hats and scarves roll bundled down on sledges, black bin liners, cardboard boxes and anything that could possibly slide. We line up at the top, position the beer trays: cling to the edges which must be bent upwards, mind your hands, pull your feet in and - go! snow whipping at your face, exhilarating windrush, shouts and yells and bumping, spinning chaos as we fly down the hill, roughly in formation. Tangle of arms, legs and happy breathless faces at the bottom in a fog of laughter. We shake off the snow, reshape the sledges, and run back up to do it again.