"Jo – you haven’t seen real snow before, have you?” “Nope,” I called from a few desks away, at my new job in the UK. “Go look out the window!” The whole marketing department watched as I jumped out of my chair and ran to the window. Little tufts of white fluffiness were gently falling from the sky. It was magnificent. I watched, mesmerised, unable to think about anything else. While I’d seen snow once, it was already settled on the ground and wasn’t very soft at all. This was the first time I’d seen actual action of ‘snowing’. “Why don’t you go outside?” asked the same colleague who’d sent me scurrying across to the window. That was an excellent idea, I thought. I nodded and went over to my desk to suit up in my woolly hat, gloves and coat. “Just watch your feet – you’re in heeled boots which might be a bit slippery” someone warned. “Sure, thanks!” I called back, “Is anyone going to join me?” This was the moment when I realised that my colleagues were getting far more enjoyment out of watching me see my first snowfall, than they were in watching the snow themselves. They promised to keep an eye on me from the window, while they continued to work. I waited outside the elevator on the third floor, pressing the down button repeatedly, as though I was going to miss a rare moment in history. I could have taken the stairs but reasoned that the manual way down would take too long. As I continued to press, I thought it bizarre that no one else was interested in coming to enjoy the wonderful, wonderful snow. The lift finally opened and I stepped inside. It went down one floor and opened again. I waited while a couple of people from the second floor (that I didn’t know) entered the lift too. “It’s snowing!” I blurted out with a little too much excitement. “We believe so,” said one “we’re hoping to get home before the roads get bad, you should too.” Not only were they ‘not thrilled’ by the snow, but they seemed fairly frustrated about it too. How odd, I thought. We finally reached the ground floor. I stepped back and let the others head out first. “Enjoy the snow” said one with a smile, as they walked out of the building. “I will – thanks!” I stood at the door for a moment hypnotised by the magical, glittery white floaty stuff falling just in front of me. I put my gloved hand out and caught a few flakes. I inspected them as they slowly melted. To my absolute delight, they looked like actual pictures of snowflakes seen on Christmas cards and in my childhood storybooks. And they all looked different in formation too. It’s hard to describe the pure joy I felt in this moment. It was like discovering something new and strikingly beautiful. Every cell in my body felt alive and alight. It was like tasting chocolate for the first time with clotted cream, great red wine and Italian meringue (maybe not together). My whole body was filled with a giddy, light feeling. After watching a few more colleagues head out, I decided it was time to head out into the actual falling snow too. I inhaled and prepared for the cold. Then I took a quick step, followed by a quick second step and as I stretched for the third step my leg travelled upwards like an anti-gravity astronaut limb. I had no control over my movements as I found myself flying into the air and landing on the ground with a solid ‘thump.’ The feeling of giddiness quickly vanished. My office block is on a university campus and as I ‘bottom planted’, I saw passing groups of students screw up their faces in pain. After drawing a long wounded breath, I looked up and the same empathic students glanced away, protecting my dignity. Three international students came over and helped me back onto my feet and then hurried away. I wasn’t far from my office door, so once back on my feet, I shuffled about to find my balance and then carefully limped back, sliding with every step and having to rebalance myself continually. I discovered that while snow was very pretty, it can be nasty slippery, slidey stuff. My first experience of falling snow has been much like my whole experience of 2020. I came into this year with positivity and tons of excitement. A date that added up to the age I was turning that year, couldn’t be anything but great, right? Well. We all know how that turned out. The first lockdown felt like falling right down and the subsequent moments of change have been slippery and painful at times. But through it all, there have still be moments of glistening, brilliant beauty! While I wouldn’t do 2020 again, it’s been dotted with truly magical, ‘real’ moments. Sometimes things that seem great on the outside, just aren’t. And sometimes we just don’t have control so we have to give in to the fall. Through it all though, we can still find the special moments and look for things to celebrate.
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