Tuesday, 3 February 2009

The Thaw

A February dawn, and the grey canyon of Canongate snakes down the spine of Edinburgh into the underworld of Holyrood. The sun has apparently risen, but it is no match for the thick, damp blanket of drizzle that has crept up the Forth overnight, isolating poor Edinburgh from heat, light and joy. Pinched, black-clad locals merge into the greyness, hurrying - lest they shiver - to their places of work. Nobody would be abroad this morning unless it were absolutely necessary. It is the dispirited silence that gets me. There are no tourists today, no splashes of colour in the gloom save for car headlights, no sounds save the diesel rattle and swish of tyre on wet street, no warmth save the exhaust fumes of buses.

What a contrast to yesterday! Yesterday the snow fell all day, crunching dryly underfoot, the magical sight of fat snowflakes from the office window. Thoughts turned to a snowy hill at the weekend. Even after sunset the world glowed white, and the town was full of excited children roaming as if at Halloween - boys throwing snowballs, and the young folk built a giant snowman outside our house. This morning I woke, and the snowman had been knocked down, melting into the saturated, slushy grass.

I hate the thaw.

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