I have now been living in this country for 50 years, but this year something is missing. Not that I really miss it, but it has always arrived, like a Damocles sword hovering as a threat. There are no wanted posters nailed to the trees, or on sidewalks, proclaiming that there is a reward for any sightings of it. People have mixed feelings. Some are wishing for a “white Christmas” and others are glad that it is still grass green. Yes, we are in Switzerland and have no snow in the lowlands. There was a layer in the highlands for a while, but even that has disappeared. Who wants or needs the stuff?
I am a snow enemy, or used to be. Today as a golden oldie I go out when I have to, and can make arrangeents to stay at home if necessary. There was a time when I belonged to the work force with Mr. Swiss. Slowly the leaves disappeared from the trees, the temperatures began to fall below 0° and we could smell the snow in the air. At least the professional snow sniffers could. Being an original Brit, I did not have the taste buds for the stuff, but I was now living in a country where snow was a way of life during Winter.
Parents began organising sledges for the kids, adults were planning their winter holidays somewhere in the alps where they lived on skis for a couple of weeks. Even the kids had something called “Winter Sports Holiday”. We decided to avoid such dangerous and very expensive holidays. I was accident prone and it was forbidden that I would gain the knowledge of skiing down the slopes as I would be sure to break a leg. The only snow I saw was the snow that happened to arrive in my garden.
I remember the years gone by. There was never very much snow until Christmas. Even the Swiss news on the TV showed grass covered alpine villages and held interviews with various official members of the local government complaining that the tourists were disappointed going on country walks and having to leave their skis in their expensively rented Swiss Chalets.
Me, I did not mind. I was a working woman, and had to drive to my workplace. Driving through snow and ice to work was not my thing. Crawling along the road, bumper to bumper, snow flakes falling, adding 30 minutes to the normal 10 minute drive. And so I was happy to be snowless. However, there is always a negative side to everything. Between 24th December and 2nd January we had our annual Christmas holidays, which remain snowless.
Every year, as if a mystical weather prophet had decided he was bored and wanted to add some excitement to his frozen life, it would begin to snow on the evening of 2nd Janruary. Not a flock of snow had we seen all the past weeks, but on 2nd January it fell. Not just small picturesque flocks, but thick chunks and fast, covering the ground with at leat 6 cemetres. The next morning, if you did not have a garage, you spent the first 30 minutes clearing the snow and ice from the car. If you had a garage, you could forget the car, and clear the path to the garage. The Swiss authorities are quite good at organisation, but after spending a Christmas holiday of being merry, they are also not very happy about getting up early in the morning to clear the roads. An so it came to pass that every year the snow arrived at the wrong time on the wrong day.
Mr. Swiss and I are now golden oldies, and it is no longer a great problem. We do not have to go anywhere and do anything and so who cares if it snows or not. This year we have had only one day of snow up to now, some time in November. Peraps it might snow at the end of the year, but who cares. I have now begun to miss it. Not that I want to wade knee deep in the stuff, but I am sure I could take some interesting photos. Who cares about driving to work, that is for the others.