When I woke up this morning and drew back the curtain, it was snowing. The cobbled streets were lightly dusted. Little snowflakes, tiny and delightful, were swirling in the air as though someone in the sky was gently sprinkling icing sugar onto the earth.
I stood staring out the window, mesmerized by it. What is it about the snow that draws people to their windows? Across the street, I saw the shadows of other people, their noses also pressed up against the glass. The snow is something to look at, I suppose. It is something to talk about.
After lunch, I walked along Leith walk. The afternoon was bright, cold, fresh. Some shop windows were boarded up and others were gleaming with baked goods, and dusty books, and second-hand teapots. There were other people walking up and down the street too, all bundled up in their scarves, and toques, and puffy jackets. People running errands, doing whatever they had to do, avoiding the things they were actually supposed to be doing. It felt like Christmas in February. It felt like walking down a busy street on Christmas eve, except there were no lights strung across windows and dejected-looking Christmas trees lay dead on the pavement. I saw a dog in an orange jumper; I bought a white chocolate mocha; I listened to The Spinners. The day was good; I was good and so was my life.
So I guess it’s true what they say about never knowing how quickly a wonderful thing can suddenly happen to you. In the blink of an eye, you’re sad and everything about the world is wrong. And in the blink of an eye, you’re happy and everything about the world is right. That’s how fast things can fall apart and that’s how fast things can come together.
The afternoon dwindled, the light faded, the snow stopped and then it started again. I went back home and made hot chocolate and ate the brownies I baked over the weekend. The sky turned dark and I found myself looking out at the world again. There is a precious warmth about sitting by the window and gazing out at the snow. Street lamps seem to gleam a little brighter; the world seems to get a little quieter; problems seem to feel a little smaller.
No one can take today away from me, I thought. Even if the snow is gone by the morning, even if the pristine whiteness of it becomes blemished and brown and ugly, trodden upon by heavy boots. These moments are mine. These snow clad streets, these cold fingers, these memories. I love Edinburgh, and February, and snow. I love all those elements together, and I love finding myself in the middle of them all.
A good thing can melt away in the blink of an eye. Maybe that’s why we stare out our windows, watching the snow fall.