A Touch of Snow

If you come from a country like South Africa, where snow is a concept ill-defined by movies and your friends’ legendary experiences, it’s really quite something to wake up to a snow-dusted world.

The only previous experience I had with snow was when I was about 8. My parents got wind of a falling about an hour’s drive away, and we bundled into the car to go and see it. By the time we got there, much of it had melted. We pulled over by a sad little patch, and I tried to scrape enough together to form the snowmen I had seen in countless movies. When it became clear that there wasn’t enough for that, I scooped up a sizable chunk with an eye to lobbing it at my sister. It was sludge though. My glove soaked through, and the bite of cold made me drop the snow and just stand back, admiring this stuff of legend.

I remember that day very fondly, and this is perhaps why, when on Day 2 – while we were sitting, nice and cozy, watching television and drinking tea – my sister’s boyfriend casually pointed out that it was snowing, I jumped up like a maniac and rushed around for my boots so that I could go out and experience this amazing happening. Everyone else looked at me like I was a little bit crazy, but I was indulged. The little balcony door was opened, and out flit Karlien with wonderment on her face.

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Some photographic evidence of my wonderment, and indulgent boyfriend, Francois.

Apparently this same wonderment was present when, on Day 3, we cycled through 15 minutes of snow to get back from the library. It had been raining on the way there, and the weather progressively worsened as the day stretched towards afternoon. By the time we were fed up with working and just wanted to get home, a wet torrent of unduly white flakes was pattering down. My sister rode in front, eyes scrunched up against the cold and cursing this Dutch weather. My boyfriend rode behind, eyes scrunched up and hands clenched in bitter concentration. I rode in the middle, eyes scrunched up and – I’m told – looking like it was Christmas.

This morning, on the auspicious Day 6, I woke up to snow already ceased. The world outside the window was lightly dusted with a thin layer. Trees glittered in the morning sun as the snow melted, dripping slowly from high branches. On the neighbouring Kolfstraat, one side of the terracotta roof tiles presented a mottled white crown that was slowly, slowly shrinking.

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And yes, this may be a bit flowery and somewhat cheesy, but hey – up until a couple of days ago, this was all the stuff of my dreams.

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