Tuesday 3 February 2009

surrender and win

On Monday most Londoners had to rip up their plans. That's what happens (we now know) when Arctic winds from the east collide with a damp patch of air moving up from France. 20cm of snow changes your whole day. It was a case of surrender and win.

It led, for one thing, to an unexpected outbreak of nature-writing in the broadsheets. Journalists had time to stop and stare. In the Guardian, Stuart Jeffries stopped to watch a heron dive 'from the ice into water that is starless and bible black'. In the Independent, Tom Sutcliffe rhapsodised, 'Transformation simply falls from the sky, gratuitous and excessive.' In The Times Alice Miles said, 'It's snow! Lovely, skiddy, slippy, cold, wet, ferocious, gorgeous snow'.

By chance, Grains of Sand had picked up on rare glimpses of nature when linking to Ian McEwan's recent article on John Updike. McEwan had written of an Updike moment 'when a denatured suburbanite glances up beyond the telegraph poles and wires and notices that spring is coming on and experiences a jolt of indistinct excitement'. But that moment is 'quickly smothered'.

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