Saturday, 4 December 2010

The beauty of snow

Yes, I am glad that the white stuff is starting to disappear. The pavements ( here at least)are covered with a treacherous slush and the ground is all soggy. However there is no doubting that snow is beautiful and I was rather moved by this lovely post from the Colophon blog run by the nuns of East Hendred last Sunday, in which they liken the snow to Advent, something that descends softly and gently into our hearts and souls, silencing and transforming the world with its impossible purity.

The post made me think of other writers who have seen snow as a symbol of something beyond us, perhaps the beauty and fragility of mortality. I leave you with the ending to James Joyce's short story, The Dead, it is also beautifully written, read it and feel your "soul swoon" with Gabriel, the central character. ( And don't say we don't educate you on this blog :)

"A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead."

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