Here I am, dreaming of a White Christmas – and not likely to have one, it seems, except for the frost. And I’m not exactly pining, but I sigh, and mumble to myself, and hopefully study the skies, and this kind of things.
To which many of my friends shake their heads, and a few actually scold me: when shall I grow up? Don’t I know what a damn nuisance snow is? Have I never suffered through the bother and disruption snow can cause?
And here is where I usually cut through the tirade – because while having no idea when I’ll grow up, and utterly failing to see snow as a nuisance, I did suffer through snow-disruption, and have a story to prove it.
Seven years ago, you see, I was waiting in anxious excitement for the first ever professionally produced run of a play of mine. It was Of Men And Poets, due to open in early February, and oh, the jitters and flutters! Well, as The Day approached, unusual rumours of heavy snowfalls began to appear in the weather forecast. Very unusual, you see, because I live smack in the middle of the Po Valley… well, perhaps a little east of smack-in-the-middle, but still a place where it hardly ever snows at all – let alone heavily. We hadn’t seen anything of the sort in years, and indeed, even when there was snow elsewhere around, all we’d had was very cold rain, so nobody truly bothered to worry.
Only, as the days and hours passed, the forecasts became more insistent on the matter, and the sky took that peculiar colour, and you could smell it in the air. The Company grew nervous, and I…
Well, of course I was nervous too, but still the prospect of snow gave me a little thrill – that I carefully kept to myself. And then, right on the day before first night, it started to snow in earnest – but in earnest!
All day it snowed, inch upon inch, and where it fell it stayed. You see, because we are people of the plains, and because we see this cold white stuff so very seldom, we are not quite equipped to deal with it. Municipal folks and road maintenance people stare at the pretty flakes dancing down from the skies, vaguely wondering about snowplows and salt until it gets really messy… Or so one’s left to imagine, based on all evidence. My mountain-girl friend Polly used to snicker at the way we of the plains can cheerily ignore soup-thick fog, while being reduced to teary impotence by a bare inch of snow. Which is why, by nest morning, it was clear that there was going to be no First Night at all – unless we wanted to open to an empty house, the director mournfully told me on the phone. And the way she told it, one had to imagine a bunch of unhappy actors, miserably stuttering my lines in the midst of a frozen and deserted steppe.
And I… What does it tell of my sanity that, while very much disappointed, I still was happy as a lark with the heavy snowfall, and thought a delayed first night a not entirely unreasonable price for three days and three nights of heavy snowfalls, hot tea, and Tchaikovsky?
So, there’s no saying when (or if) I’ll ever grow up, and I clearly lack the sense God gave small green apples, but it can’t be said that my unreasonable love of snow hasn’t been put through a serious test, can it? Can I dream of White Christmases, then?