It is cold tonight. That thought has sort of taken over from just about any other. The thermostat on the wall tells me it is not cold in here. But I sit here fully dressed, with fleece lined boots, a fluffy dressing gown and fleecy blanket… and I beg to differ. It is, I assure you, cold. Or I am, anyway.
I have walked miles in the snow today. Unable to sleep I got up early this morning… unconscionably early, and wandered out into the pristine snow. It was still falling heavily and at that time of morning no other human foot had touched most of what I could see. A selection of small bird prints, and that was it. So the camera and I tried to capture some of that beauty… failing miserably for the most part, but at least we tried, and, in trying, experienced.
The pictures I took do not do the morning justice. The do not capture the softness of the light or pick up the diamond sparkle in the surface of the snow. There is a vividness in the moment that no amount of memory can contain. But the pictures suggest something of the magical quality of the morning, the sense of anticipation at what the day might bring, a waiting to see what would come.
The snow continued. Looking at some of the pictures I noticed things I had barely seen as I snapped away. There were details there that had escaped me as I drank in the picture. And that’s fine. I did not need to analyse the scene to see the beauty. Did not have to realise how long it was since I had seen a frozen canal with snow on the ice, or wonder why there were so many ducks awake at that time of day.
So in some ways the photos were failures in their inability to capture the full glory of the moment, in others they are a more accurate record than memory alone, coloured by an immersion in emotion as they record the details the conscious eye missed or failed to register. Either way they serve as a reminder of a moment of sheer beauty and joy that will not be forgotten.
In some way or another there is a reflection in there.. how much detail do we miss by just seeing the bigger picture.. but do we have to actually consciously notice the detail in order to take in the bigger picture? Which draws the most response from us? Which informs us the most in the long term.. say from the perspective of the bigger picture….
Whatever the outcome of that discussion, one thing was very obvious today. If we live in the moment we experience life with such an intensity of emotion, such a zest and vividness, that anything else pales into mediocrity beside it. Everything is thrown into high relief like the stark blackness of a branch against the snow.
I can feel a whole philosophical debate coming on here, but to be honest, I’ve been playing out in the snow most of the day and I am tired and cold still. Serves me right, I hear you say… and you are, of course, entirely correct. I am too old for messing about in snow… but hey, it was so much fun I had a perfect day. I’d gladly do it again tomorrow, but for tonight I am cold and tired and the white mound of the duvet seems awfully tempting….