I think that life is captured by memories. As long as we live, we will have little snapshots from our life to look back on, replaying them in the solitude of our own minds. It’s something that, for me, signifies how human I am.
As it’s winter now, and coming up to Christmas, I want to share a particular memory with you, that I experienced when I was 7. It may have been long ago, but it’s something I could never forget, simply for how beautiful it was.
I travelled to Finland with my family, to celebrate the wedding of a friend of my father’s. It was the height of winter, but Finnish winter is not like English winter. With English winter, the cold is just below freezing, and snow melts a day after it touches the ground, frost on grass and cars the only visible signs of it besides the lack of leaves on trees.
Finnish winter was different. Though the specifics of what we did on each day are blurred now, I could never forget the evening of what I believe was the second day.
In the daytime, the sun glinted off the snow, so shining that I could see it. It stretched out into a blanket, white, seeming unbroken to my young eyes, as I could not notice the little hillocks and breaks in the snow beneath my feet. It was always bitterly cold, my hands wrapped up in layers of gloves, the air welcoming any exposed skin with a chill that seemed to be never-ending.
That night, the sun had dipped just below the horizon. Though not pitch-black, it was a grey sort of light, peeping occasionally around the evening: it was like twilight. I could just about see the snow, though it didn’t appear white: it seemed muted almost.
We were near the house, and I remember the laughter, little bells of it echoing off the ground, my giggles joined with distant laughs from the other children as I investigated the snow. It crunched beneath my boots, making that glorious sound only snow can: your foot sinks into it, over and over, as you steadily explore your little patch of ground. My dad stood near me, watching, walking with me as I revelled in the sheer amount of it all.
We were on top of a hill, and the snow piled onto it, rising in soft mounds and trampled by many feet. Meandering down the side of the hill was a little slope of ice: I have always been able to recall the feel of it. As I took my glove off, the cold almost burned as I was used to the security of the fabric. I reached my hand down, feeling the powder of snow, until it reached in the break in the solid white. There, stretching only a foot or so, was ice as smooth as glass, and you could run your hand over it. It was in contrast to the snow, and I was delighted by it, and those that were brave enough – not me – used a sled to slide down, a scraping sound accompanying them.
Even after I came back, after those memories were replaced with English snow and the feel of a small patch of ice under my shoe, I couldn’t forget what I used to call ‘real’ snow. Perhaps I have glorified it in my mind, had the memory distorted, but I think that is the beauty of memory.
It was something that always symbolised living, vitality, and the true beauty of what nature could bring. There are waterfalls that spray golden droplets, rocks that are as decorative as a painting, but I feel happy whenever I think of the simplicity of that winter. Maybe it’s pretentious, but everyone has their own perceptions of life.
It was part of my life, and part of so many others’ lives too. Whether it’s snow or sun or the sea that makes you smile, it’s the life that you remember that’s important.
Thanks so much for reading! Remember to head on over to my blog if you enjoyed what you read. Thank you so much to Iridescence for allowing me to post – she’s a wonderful person and blogger, and I’ve adored her blog for so long now.
From Elm 🙂