It has been snowing for days. In the East, a steady few inches per day has blanketed both town and countryside, purifying all that stares skyward. Snow, uniquely, makes the ugliest beautiful for a time - morphing demons into angels.
Driving North and West, I crossed the Pennines, and briefly skirted an invisible boundary; fleetingly traversing the veil which separates two worlds. No words can describe the beauty of that drive. The sky was exceptionally clear. Snow draped over the ancient hills, crossed with drystone walls and dotted with farmhouses; the winter sun casting oblique shadows on the pristine palette. Looking South-West, the hills were ablaze with frosted fire. The scene was dissected by one of my favourite roads, and my perception of the stark beauty was heightened by the ever-present risk of the conditions, by constant alertness to the subtle messages of traction transmitted through the steering column. Through superposition of the beauty and the danger, I felt unusually alive.
As so often, Divine Comedy lyrics sprung to mind.
One butterfly spies the glint in his eye
The birds sing as he cycles by
And Oh! Why should he feel sad?
This world ain't so bad
And besides, woe betide he who would frown
When natural beauty abounds!
And now, with wheels spinning free,
He's picking up speed...
Two butterflies tie knots in his stomach
They love it when he goes to fast
Wind whistles past: vast oceans of air
That will mess up his hair
Though he no longer cares anymore
For overindulgence in vanity's vacuous vice
Just once or twice. Thrice.
Four times in five
We forget we're alive
And neglect to remind ourselves
Oh wait, wait for me!
Oh, great Mercury
As long as you may be
Oh, won't you wait for me?
Three butterflies realise when it's time to depart
They have tickled his ribs, they have fluttered his heart
But the starting is easy compared to the stop
And the bottom is hard when compared to the top!
Ooh, la la, la la la la....