Winter in London
The origins of the word winter lie in the Proto-Indo-European for wed, meaning wet, or wind– meaning white. It is indicative if nothing else. December, January and February are the culprits, when daylight is precious and our collective mind-set is one of precipitative perseverance. But wait, what’s that reminiscent bouquet? Spicy, tangy, hints of pine, a waft of cinnamon. Who says we can’t go outside in December, it’s Christmas!
Christmas is our seasonal booster, our inoculation against the winter blues. And there’s more; Boxing Day sales, the obligatory visit to the in-laws and, to wrap it up, the cheery crescendo known as New Year’s Eve. The latter, despite being coveted by so many, is often nothing more than a damp squib; it’s as if we’ve all run out of steam.
And so, we plunge into the two-month hangover of January and February. We repent the excesses of the year that was and swear abstinence from alcohol, chocolate and anything else remotely interesting. A dark cloud hangs listlessly over our once sun-drenched city. But, today the sky is awash with a grey, watery light. And then, in a moment of barometrical wonder, we are thrust into powdery chaos. With public transport in disarray, school’s out for the winter.
Children frolic in the fresh snow, chilled to the bone, but happy; even with swollen fingers and rosy cheeks the cold is somehow refreshing. Fathers, powerless to resist, fashion sleighs from old baking trays and discarded dustbin lids. Frozen puddles crack underfoot as if to let the earth’s core breath once more.
It melts our hearts, and then it’s gone.
Only winter can toy with our temperament so; it is climatic in every sense: euphoric, desolate and wonderful.
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