Floods you can handle; you are an old pro now. Snow, on the other hand, is a different matter entirely. On the day of the Big Snow you woke us early as you clattered through the cat flap with enough speed for us to think that your tail was on fire. Even in the early morning darkness snowflakes stood stark against your black fur as you jumped onto the bed. We watched them melt as you snuggled into the blankets. We were swift to rise to our chores and with hushed voices, for we did not want to scare the snow away, we discussed what adventures the day might hold.
We did not rush out straight away. We know that too much eagerness would not pay dividends; snow is a wily creature like that, shy to show herself this far south. Give her time to feel comfortable and then, perhaps, she will stay.
“Pretend the snow’s not there,” I said as I poked my head outside to check that the water in our tank had not frozen. I stuck my tongue out and caught a few flakes as they fell, regardless of my instruction.
“Pfft! Snow? Call that snow?” I heard Rob cheekily taunt as he checked that our firewood was sheltered and our coal bags accessible. He built up the fire in the stove to keep us toasty warm and we tried not to think about the many mornings we had woken to find the fire burning too low and ice creeping up the inside of the side hatch. You ignored the snow and hid under the blankets. We thought you played our game well.
Even before dawn our resolve started to crack and when we could contain our excitement no longer you crawled from the bed to watch, ears back against your head in disapproval, as we bundled on woollens to protect ourselves against the cold.
“Time to play!” I called to you as we headed out to meet the adventure-we-could-not-earlier-openly-discuss. You begrudgingly followed us, as you always do, picking your path carefully through the snow, afraid that we would get ourselves into the kind of trouble only a cat can rescue us from.
We built a snowcat in the park, following the tradition that if it snows we build a magnificent creature to overlook our neighbour’s boat, but this did not cheer you. Nor did our trek to the deserted play park to experience the snowy slides and the zip wire. Rob and I had a snowball fight under the orange gaze of the street lights and we made snow angels in the banks beside the lane; we did all the childish things snow makes thirty-somethings do when no one else is around to cast judgement. You silently brooded on yours before turning tail and giving us up for lost.
We found you later, once we were home, soggy, and exhausted. We curled up in front of the stove and watched you watching the world as the snow, against your obvious wishes, continued to fall.