The first of his week’s writing prompts is taken from Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie.
We had woken to the cushioned silence which tells you, before your eyes are properly open, before you reluctantly worm out from under the covers and pad on rapidly chilling feet to twitch aside the heavy curtain – before all of that, you know. It has snowed during the night, may well still be snowing. It’s not just the absence of traffic. It’s a heaviness in the quiet, a stillness.
I glanced at my sleeping partner and slipped from the warm bed, shrugging on a fleecy dressing gown and wriggling my toes into sheepskin slippers. Resisting the temptation to look outside, I walked, still drowsy, downstairs and into the kitchen.
The back of the house faces east, where the sun rises above a lightly wooded hill. I’ve become familiar with dawn’s daily rituals, and today was proving to be one of her specials.
Behind the blue-shadowed hill, a firestorm of golds and oranges trumpeted the sun’s arrival. Snow lay several inches thick, coating the rickety fence and outlining the bare branches of the trees.
Quick footsteps behind me made me turn.
‘Mummy, it’s snowed!’
‘I know.’ I smiled, wondering if school would be cancelled and already thinking ahead to how we could spend the day.
‘Can I go outside?’ Jiggling from one foot to the other.
My gaze went to our boots by the back door and then to my daughter, who had dressed in anticipation – or perhaps planned to sneak out before I woke.
I shrugged. ‘Sure, why not.’
Discarding my slippers for boots, glad of their fleecy lining, I handed my daughter her coat, decided to make do with my dressing gown – we wouldn’t be out for long – and unlocked the door.
‘Come on then, and afterwards we’ll have pancakes for breakfast.’
I held out my hand to her, and we stepped out into the winter morning.
‘So pretty,’ my daughter said, held back momentarily by the sight.
‘So cold too.’ I laughed.
She let go of my hand and plodded across the pristine snowy lawn. ‘A snowman, Mummy, there’s enough for a snowman.’
And there was.
Our last snowman.
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