Nostalgia: ‘I watched transfixed as mum ruffled the snow’

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ALLAN Dodds is the author of Laughin’ on the ither side o’ ma face, an autobiographical account of Edinburgh through a child’s eyes.

Here, he recalls the first time he witnessed a winter wonderland.

“One of my earliest memories is of seeing snow for the first time in my life. In retrospect, this must have been around the beginning of December when I was six months old and my mother took me for a trip in my high pram to the Botanic Gardens.

“Instead of the usual muddy paths and sodden green grass surrounding them at that time of year, a smooth blanket of freshly fallen snow enveloped the whole landscape, knitting it together in a new and, to my eyes, quite beautiful and seamless fashion.

“The pale sun that day cast soft shadows on the undulating surfaces and, looking over the side of my pram, I watched transfixed as mother ruffled the smooth surface of the snow with a long twig.

“I was mesmerised, although I cannot articulate 
anything more about my feelings or thoughts, if indeed infants have thoughts at the age of six months. I do, however, recall the awe in which I held my mother for her power to wreak such a transformation on the world with such little effort.

“Many decades later, talking to her in her latter years, she was able to inform me of the reliability of that recollection, adding that she had in fact written my name in the snow, although the squiggles meant nothing to me then other than a demonstration of her ineffable wisdom and infinite power.”