In which the snow becomes general …

One of the upsides of sliding inexorably towards being fired is that my diary is rather empty. What was a fertile plain of meetings, events, conferences and the like is now an empty tundra.

Of course there’s stuff to do wrap up my work and career and leave everything tidy. And there’s the effort to be spent on finding another source of income. But there is also plenty of time for reflection. General snow also gives many folks not on my sledge the chance to pause for thought. There’s nothing like unexpected stillness after frenzied activity to set you thinking.

Particularly when it’s snowing.

Snow transforms the external landscape in a way that echoes in my internal life. Away go the gaudy absolutes of the Technicolor world and instead there’s a world of shades rather than colour. The white earth merging into the white heavens. Boundaries get smoothed away and often disappear. Things you take for granted mobility, freely available food and the like are no longer to be relied upon. There is the world, or a version of it, that does not care how its actions hurt the people trying to get by.

I sit watching a desperate robin attack the food I’ve just defrosted  feeling a strange kinship with him.

Without warning he’s found his world made new as well. Old reference points are gone or obliterated in a way that makes them unrecognisable. And suddenly the search for sustenance becomes a test of endurance in the face of elemental forces unmoved by the fate of one small bird or family in some quiet corner of England.

The snow has indeed become general. The storm upon us.

One of my favourite passages about snow in literature comes from James Joyce’s Dubliners and the story The Dead. I have always felt a little sympathy for the story’s ‘hero’ Gabriel Conroy who finds the world is not how he thought it is. The final paragraph contains a powerful image of snow on which to meditate.

A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

Truly, the snow is general.


About redundantpublicservant

A redundant UK public servant looking for work, sharing his experiences and providing a space for others to do the same.
This entry was posted in happiness, kindness, Redundancy, snow, success and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to In which the snow becomes general …

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention In which the snow becomes general … | A redundant public servant's blog --

  2. ‘Always look on the bright side’ Monty Python……
    Some of what you say echoes my own situation, though in my case I just don’t know where we are going – there is just a limbo like existence while people higher up the food chain remember we even exist and then decide in some suitable timeframe that fits their own existence, what to do about us. Yesterday was a day of staring for too long at a computer screen….
    The bright side (and I admit I am scraping the barrel a bit) is that you are having time and recourse to reflect and write and contextualise. This has become one of my daily ‘reads’ and I marvel that a few years ago it would not have been possible to share and connect in such a way with a whole range of people yourself and regular commenters as well. It keeps us a little more human…..

    • Dear Roger,

      Thank you for your comment and the very kind sentiments in contains. Getting that sense of connection has been an important part of my self-management through this whole horrible time. Feeling that there are a whole load of us urging eachother on and learning from the mishaps along the way is a filip in the grottiest of times.

      Best of luck with whatever is heading in your direction.


  3. HR Gal says:

    thanks for reminding me to get some birdseed!!

  4. Mean Mr Mustard says:

    Some, unlike we redundified deskpolishers, may not be cast out in the snowdrifts to fend for themselves, but they still feel the same icy chill of harsh ministerial rhetoric all the same. Poor things.

    “We’ve told the government that there’s no point in our reaching some kind of collective agreement on pay, if ministers are still going to use the kind of rhetoric against us that damages our reputations and demoralises our staff,” said one bank leader. “We’re looking for a response from ministers, which makes it clear they recognise we’re doing our bit on pay and also recognises that we have an important role to play in the recovery – which would be set back if we’re attacked all the time by ministers”.

    • Dear Mean Mr Mustard,

      International finance is hard grind and I think any image we might have of the higher echelons of that world as being Trotteresque try-on merchants each with a brass neck would be wholly unfair and unfounded.

      Best wishes


      PS Angela Knight helped me a bit with this comment hope it doesn’t show too much.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s