Last summer I took the bold move to write a blog while on holiday rather than preparing one in advance. Bold because a) will I find something to talk about? and b) the risk of holiday brain freeze. But it worked. The first of those holiday blogs was inspired by a visit to a Roman villa. It struck me that despite how much our world and everything in it had changed, if those Roman’s had looked at the view from their villa in the 21 century there was much they would have recognised, the fields, vineyards, rivers and copses of trees. Even the nature of the farm building in the distance would have seemed familiar with their sand stone walls and terracotta roofs.
And now I’m away skiing. How more timeless can you get than mountains shrouded in snow. Where water falls as white flakes. No matter how old you are it’s still a thrill to see the world coated in it’s white blanket. A different world, for me at least, an alien, magical world. A previous ski trip sparked the short story ‘Protocol 29A‘ which is on this web site. Other memories have appeared in various guises in other stories. A double joy in many ways, first the memories themselves and then being able to use the experience in my writing, albeit often altered and extended to fit my purpose.
And then there’s the bizarre concept of throwing yourself down a mountain with a pair of sticks (if somewhat sophisticated sticks) strapped to your feet, letting gravity do it’s work and then a piece if machinery take you back up. There is the light which is always different. Bright, sunshine when you can see forever (or so it seams), or low cloud and driving snow so that it’s even difficult to tell up from down. The snow under your feet changes from hard packed that chatters under the skis to light and fluffy that brings a silence to the world. It’s all practice for the imagination, experiences to store and bring out when needed, to adapt and play with.
The only fly in the skiing ointment is the question of climate change, (a concern to all interested in science and science fiction) and will it last or how long might it last. Paradoxically we are getting more extreme snowstorms, so is this climate change stuff all a myth? Apparently not, extreme snowfall is an expected consequence of a warmer world – heavy snow requires a lot of atmospheric moisture. That moisture builds up in pockets of warm air and the atmosphere can carry 7% more water vapour every time its temperature rises 1C. But climate change is complex. Even if a warmer world helps create the conditions for extreme snowfall events in some regions, this does not mean more snow will fall overall.
So fingers crossed and make the most of it while we can. And while we are doing that be inspired by seeing the world dressed in white.
As always comments are welcome.