Go With The Snow

by Zoë Sharp


I admit it – I’m a sucker for snow. I know it’s causing horrendous problems elsewhere in the world, and I’m not trying to make light of that in any way, but we don’t often see such extremes of weather (until lately) over here in the UK. And despite living a thousand feet up in the Cumbrian fells, we haven’t had that much of it over the past few winters. We’ve only been actually snowed in a couple of times since we moved here, but it’s not often we get a proper White Christmas.


Oh, boy, do we have one of those this year.


And it’s brought out the big kid in me, I can tell you – time for snowman building. So, with my copyedits dutifully delivered, on time, I thought I’d sneak an afternoon off to make up for a weekend of working until 3am, and we built a snowman.


But not the conventional kind.


For some reason, a head from Easter Island popped into mine, and this was our first creation. Of course, it would have been better if I’d actually gone and looked at some pictures of a real Easter Island head before we started, but it has a certain rough charm, even so.



And then, what else but a polar bear? And again – I should have looked at some pictures instead of doing it from memory. His ears are wrong. (Probably a lot else, too, but it’s the ears that bug me.)



We’ve had more snow overnight, the proper sticky stuff that makes for great snowball fights and even better snowman building. So, when I’ve done my blog and worked on my latest chapter, we may just be venturing out with a shovel to do another.


Of course, some people don’t quite get into the Christmas spirit when it comes to building snowmen.



Others go for grandeur.



And yet others for quantity.



Whereas other people just have a fine sense of the ridiculous.



Or are just plain inventive with their designs …



…or their locations.



Or just plain inventive, full stop.



And if you want to see something absolutely beautiful when it comes to things sculpted from snow and ice, you need to check out the Ice and Snow Festival held every winter in the city of Harbin, in north-eastern China. I just love the coloured lights set into the ice, so at night the whole thing shifts to another level. Definitely on my Must See list.


Words fail me at the skill and dedication that’s gone into these massive and detailed works of ice art, but have a look for yourself.







And the really amazing thing is that this is all so transient. When the ice melts, all that’s left are photographs and memories. Is creating something and then taking a photograph of it before it disappears, enough to satisfy the creative desire?


We may mutter sometimes that our work goes out of print and becomes difficult to obtain, but compared to sculpting in ice or snow, it’s infinitely long-lasting.


So, I suppose what I’m trying to say is, if you have that creative urge, do it for the joy of it, not the effect. Do it in the full knowledge that it may be gone tomorrow, and do it anyway.


Do it while you still can.


This week’s Word of the Week is omophagia, meaning the eating of raw flesh, especially as a religious observance, from the Greek omos raw, and phagein to eat. But I wouldn’t be tempted to try this with your Christmas turkey if I were you …


Happy Holidays, ‘Rati, and I wish you health, luck, and happiness in 2010!

33 thoughts on “Go With The Snow

  1. Karen in Ohio

    Lovely, Zoe.

    The "quantity" photo looks like a snow version of the Chinese clay warriors. So funny.

    Merry Christmas, all.

  2. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Karen

    It’s the kind of thing to sneak into a neighbour’s garden and leave all these little snowmen looking in through their window when they open the curtains the next morning … or is that just me?

    Merry Christmas!

  3. Stacy McKitrick

    Those snowmen pictures remind me of some Calvin & Hobbes cartoons. I can’t wait to show them to my son. He loves snow. Unfortunately, not enough of the white stuff falls to the ground in Dayton to suit him (but I’m not complaining).

    Merry Christmas!

  4. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Stacy

    That’s the nice thing about the States – it’s so big that you can find just about any kind of weather, from snowy mountains to tropical beaches, without ever needing your passport. Heaven!

  5. R.J. Mangahas

    I am a big proponent for playing in the snow and snow structures. Always fun. Although the bleeding snowman is a little unsettling, it seems appropriate for the whole crime thing.

    Happy and safe holidays everyone!!

  6. JT Ellison

    Beautiful, Z!!! I’m with you – I adore snow. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas without it. Thanks for sharing some of yours. I hope your warm and snug now. Merry Christmas Eve!!!

  7. Zoë Sharp

    Hi JT

    Yeah, we managed to dig the car back onto the driveway, and we’re inside enjoying the triple glazing and the underfloor heating and all that insulation that we sweated and swore over installing when we built the place!

    And, when we meet, remind me to tell you the story of the MP who sent a text message that was autocorrected by his cellphone, with very unfortunate results …

  8. Tom

    Magnificent collection of pix and thoughts, Zoe. Thank you! And your bears look good.

    Have a wonderful holiday weekend, everyone.

  9. pari noskin taichert

    What a wonderful post. I loved it! Loved the pictures: Yes on Calvin and Hobbes.

    And YES on the sentiment.

    For some reason it reminded me of sand paintings and how ephemeral they are. I’ll never forget watching some Tibetan monks who were visiting ABQ create a huge, complicated mandala . . . only to destroy it after nearly a week of work.

  10. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Tom

    We went out this afternoon and augmented the bear by giving it a small companion. If it hasn’t fallen over or disappeared tomorrow, I’ll take photographs.

    Have a great holiday weekend yourself!

  11. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Pari

    Thank you. There’s a Russian or Ukrainian girl who does beautiful sand painting, and it’s beautiful. I would have loved to have seen the Tibetans’ work.

    I shall try and remember the feelings behind this post as I go into the New Year. Happy Holidays!

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