Nick Trench: The Snow

The snow wanted to lie down alright, but it wanted to elongate itself (like rain). It wanted to hide its face - it wanted not to be seen like the grass it covered, but more than that - it wanted not to be seen when the grass had no snow on it, so that people wouldn't say: there is the grass which is covered by the snow. It wanted to be transparent, to be the grass itself, to be the unseen thing which lay next to or above the grass. It did not want to draw attention to itself. It wanted only to be left to its own devices. It did not want people to say:"There is the snow!", or if it had not arrived yet, for people to say: "Are we going to get snow this year?" It may be that the snow is never seen here at all, that there is never any in this region. Perhaps there used to be snow and it never falls now - but this then is just as bad: the snow hovers uppermost in people's minds - "We never get snow here!" They say to their children: "You haven't seen snow have you?", and, for a moment, the children stop what they are doing and everyone tries to imagine what their garden or the park would be like with snow. They have snow on their minds. But when the snow does fall it covers everything - everything disappears except the snow, and the snow wants not to be seen, a little like the rain. It will do anything to melt away into the landscape, but still be snow, to maintain the freshness of snow, to be the snow that everyone loves, but not to be uppermost in people's minds when it is there. To be considered like every other element of the landscape, to be the same more or less - to be the grass, the trees, the hedges, the sidestreet, the pavement, the once white but now dirty bars of the pedestrian crossing! Don't misunderstand me - I do not want to be something other than snow. I am snow. I am the thing you tread on, the cause of so much talk, of so much muffled silence. I am only snow. I have never wanted to be anything other than exclusively snow, that thing which excludes so much, which banishes so much else from the landscape, the sudden cause of a hierarchy in the landscape, and, for a moment, I am the master of the situation, reducing, muffling. What else can I be? But let me ... let me, for a moment, escape this order.

*

I am the snow that melted away into the crowd: and yet I remained snow. I defied my snowness to become an element of the landscape that did not draw attention to itself. And now I am not snow. I have melted, but retain the right within myself to become snow again one day. To say: "Yes, notice me! I am snow! I want your attention" - not attention for itself, for people to say there is a lot of snow this year; or that the fall is so scanty that the children can't make a snowman. But for the things that I do: the dialogue I set up between myself and the landscape. The lone robin hopping and making footprints across the snow. The topography of the landscape - the bumpy ground on the lawn. The little patch where I do melt on the gravel surface.

Nick Trench

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