White Walks

My mind keeps going back to an unexpectedly solitary walk I happened to take on one snowy day of December 2011.

I was studying in Sheffield then. A beautiful town in north Yorkshire, surrounded by trees and hillocks everywhere. I had to interview someone who was supposed to meet me at Novotel. It had snowed heavily the night before and it was freezing. I still managed to throw on some super warm furry coat and walked out with my recorder. I was in my own sweet musing world when I realized that there was not a soul anywhere in sight but just heaps of delicate, fresh snow wherever the eye could see. There were no vehicles, no people, no animals, no sounds; even the air seemed to be non-existent before the very noticeable snow-covered everything. It didn’t strike me then that the trams were also closed which probably meant that everything was closed for business. I was really sincere back then and walked 4 kilometres with my legs digging deep in the soft snow with every step I took. It didn’t even strike me to cancel the appointment. I just kept walking happily.

I had never experienced anything like it before. The feeling of being lucky enough to take first steps into the fresh snow. It’s not the same as walking on the snow that has slightly off-white shoe prints. It was the feeling of walking on an unexplored virgin territory. It was the feeling that the world just happened to end and you were the only one to be left behind–the owner of your time, your destiny, your steps.

When I reached Novotel, I was obviously told that there would be no interview. Al though I was sincere, I wasn’t stupid to be disappointed with this. The cancellation just meant that I had all the day to myself and a couple of hours before people started coming out of their houses to play snow games. I realised that I had my camera but the snow had killed the battery. But as luck would have it, I managed to get some in a pound store next to Debenhams. The snow was so magical that it made every mundane thing, like a shop you saw everyday, look celestial. Yes, even Debenhams!

I randomly walked about taking pictures of snow covered reindeer meant for Xmas, just vast expanses of snow, snow on roof tops, snow in parks, snow on the sidewalk and snow decorating the church window. I walked all the way back home, taking every detour possible and just take in all the snow and the peace that came with it. There were no people, there was nothing but snow really…but it was not scary. It was surprisingly calming. The coolness even slightly kissed your eyelids and took all the weariness away. I walked through the park and was hyponitsed by the view. A still lake, surrounded my snow covered lawn, with an outer ring of dense snow flecked trees. It was heavenly.

I never felt this way again. I don’t have to. This was a special series of coincidences with very limited or no likelihood of recurrence. But I seem to drift back to this day on a particularly boring day or at a time when everything is just too much and nothing seems to convincing or justifiable. I guess beauty of such magnitude is so timelessly effective  that it will soothe you if not convince you of anything.

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