The snow and us in it

Finally, the snow is here. Little flakes started dancing down to the earth on Monday and have been falling ever since. Sometimes it is merely a certain glittering that fills the air. The atmosphere seems to crackle.

The snow covered the ground quickly and stayed there. It did not melt away. And since the constant snowfall has continued without end, by now it lies ankle-deep.

People here are used to it. Some do not like it very much. Others seem to not even notice it. I adore it. The creaking under my feet, the tickling of the flakes in my face, the sudden silence that comes with it and the reflection of the light. It makes people move in a different way, forces them to slow down. The school children look quaintly different when they are walking on snow. Their silhouettes against the white background is something new. They gather in groups, come together and in the blink of an eye scatter again, vanish, run, and accumulate somewhere else.

Usually you hear the sound of a snowplough roaring somewhere. They are tirelessly driving around, flashing orange light, going back and forth and removing the snow from streets and parking lots. They dash along the roads, scour the tarmac and leave a dark trace behind them. Immediately, as they pass, behind them the snowflakes fall on and on, covering the spot again, and what has been dark and easily drivable for a second is already blurred again by the never ending gentle snowfall and will soon be covered in white as if the snowplough had never passed there.

The rivers slowly freeze, especially where they do not rush. The open water narrows down to a stream in the middle until even that is swallowed by a surface of ice.

The ducks seem not to care. Neither many of the people. They wear snow trousers, put some winter covering on their dogs and pull their children in sleighs behind them. They keep jogging, rushing in the car, even biking. I am one of the bikers, I had no alternative. It took me double of the time to get to where I wanted, though. People use winter tires even for their bikes but I do not have such. And although the snowploughs work throughout, they prioritize on the streets for cars and do the bike tracks only occasionally and far less often. So as a biker you can either get a smooth white track where only braking would be a problem, or a soft, fluffy white track where you cross the virgin snow, or a part where many people have walked down the snow to a hard and bumpy surface, or a track with skidmarks, slightly brown and impassable, because you easily lose control of where your bike goes, or rather lurches.

Generally, the sudden onset of winter made me realise how little we are in control. I have no car, the bus connections are of no big help, and I have a class in the university which is eight kilometers away. I must take the bike. And the snow does not care. It keeps falling. The town workers do their best to keep the tracks free but after two days of constant snowfall it is simply a task too big to accomplish at once. People have no other choice but surrender. We can complain about the weather, we can complain about the town service, we can complain about our unequipped bikes – the snow will even fall on our complains, it will cover our silent rebellion, and there we will be, quiet and paralyzed and spellbound by the dancing flakes, smothered like the frozen rivers, bereft of our motivation, doing what we always should do: keep calm and accept.


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