Tag Archive: snow

Knot, 24 Torp

Earned 0 / Spent 41

Savings 17,549

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I awoke to pre-dawn Kernel to find it in snow.  The township was blue in the non-light, glittering with the faintest traces of dawn that were being sketched across the clouds closest to the horizon.  This is Torp in Terrene, where the freeze comes suddenly and without warning: a cold snap biting at your heels even when you’re surrounded by jungle. 

The air is naturally full of moisture all around the rainforest, and when it gets cold enough you suddenly remember this fact.  The air crystallises.  You might wake in the night to the sound of thousands of trees bending and groaning under the weight of their new snow-white coats.  You can almost hear the deliquescing ice tinkle like glass across the vanes and veins of giant fern.

The giant fauna in the jungle go quiet during these times.  All those cold-blooded reptiles, be they giant vegesaurs or tiny bumbling promicroceras, go to sleep waiting for the rime to recede down the trees until it’s thin enough to be melted by rainwater.

Today is Knot, which means it’s my day off.  But a courier never stops running, even at the weekend, so I put on my best-gripping shoes and took off across the slick pavements and slushy thoroughfares of Kernel.

I saw stage drivers de-icing the wheels of their coaches.  Someone else was taking a sick-looking xylem across town in a wicker cage, presumably to the tree vet.  The creature squirmed unhappily in his temporary home, pawing half-heartedly at a scrap of blanket.  A person from the Jade Reefs, looking particularly uncomfortable in the cold outdoors, was shovelling snow away from his or her restaurant.

As I ran I tried not to think about the Disc.  On days like this, the air is clear and the sun visible if one dared to look; but so is the Disc, at the other side of the sky, turning (if indeed it turns) like a hole that bores itself into the heavens.

Another letter from Foist came yesterday.  I always relish them, these moments, and cling tightly to the memories I make myself create.  Breathe it in, savour the feeling.  She is happy, and has become more determined for us to be together in Metrodon.  In turn she has galvanised me into saving harder; together we make plans and await our reunion.  I’ve saved 17,549 in seeds, including a few nuts.  Every one is still fresh (I pay for food and rent with the old seeds and save the new).  But I need much more – almost twice as many.

In her words I sense Foist’s dedication to us, but the waiting between each letter gets longer each time.  She is telling me that I am too close, even here in Kernel; that she must not be smothered if she is to grow.  I know that I can step back if I must.  The feelings will not change, but she’ll recognize that they are felt even if they aren’t constantly put into words. 

When the moon passes in front of the sun, it casts a shadow over Terrene.  But when the Disc is low with the light behind it, there is no shadow that you can see, only the feeling of its uninterrupted presence.



December now.  Can’t avoid Christmas.

Staff at T K Maxx yesterday:

“I’m fucking sick of these wank Christmas songs, I want to kill myself”.

A hundred outlets called “XMAS £1 SHOP” already packed with people buying:

  • Extra thin wrapping paper
  • Degradable stockings made of pressed felt
  • As many tiny sparkly reindeer you can shake a candy cane at

The rest of us try to shoulder down the high street without getting press-ganged by righteous charity collectors or buskers.

Seriously, who plays an acoustic version of “Mad World” at Christmas?  It’s only the most depressing song of all time.

With the exception of everything written by David Gray in his entire career.

I don’t mind Christmas.  I like the trimmings and firelight reflected in tinsel and foil, the promise of snowfall and carollers and warm nights in when the nights are cold out.

It makes me think of school.  Baby school.  Normally you’re home by four o’clock at that age.  In winter it’s already getting dark.  A week before Christmas Day you’re with all your friends at school (during night time!?) putting together your costumes for the dress rehearsal of the Nativity play. 

It was strange, being in school when it was dark.  You see your own reflection in the window, behind which is the blackest night.  Inside the room, teachers are supervising the use of blunt scissors and PVA glue.  I remember glitter everywhere.  Did we have to make our own costumes? 

Miss I broke the elastic on my mask.

Miss I need a wee.

Miss Tommy just farted.

Miss I glued my nose shut.

Laughing.  Some nervous silences, sometimes.  A coincidence of sound when conversations come to a natural end but all at the same unnatural interval.  You remember why you’re there.  You’re going out on stage.

On the night it’s even worse.  Mums and Dads are there.  I vaguely recall not being able to find Daddy in the audience one year.  Fluffed my lines looking when I should have been concentrating.  Then as I walked off stage after the performance he was there in an isle seat, surprisingly me with a big moustachioed smile.

Some Dads still had moustaches then.

Usually in the plays I was a narrator.  You always knew what parts everybody would get.  There were outgoing, good-looking kids who would get the lead roles every year.  You learn at an early age what you really need to get ahead in life.  Usually it’s the same kids who spend half their playtimes in detention making an early start on their homework.  Where’s the fairness in that!?  Come on, teacher!

The bookish kid in the massive owlish glasses gets to be narrator every year.  I kind of liked it anyway. 

It’s funny that now, I work in a job that requires me to type up meeting minutes every now and again, as the main players go about the real work.

I’m still the fucking narrator!  But … I kind of like it anyway.


Christmas is about a great big tree with mismatching baubles and little chocolate ornaments that disappear after Day 2.  It’s about seeing members of your family you don’t get to talk to very often.  Bring out the comfy chair for grandma.  Tot of sherry?  It’s about people handing presents to each other in a melee of good will.  Arms crossing over, cups of tea going around.  Doesn’t matter if you had to ask what they wanted beforehand. 

It’s about Christmas fucking dinner.  You know it.  Oh god, we love Christmas dinner.  It’s Sunday Roast Plus.  It’s three types of meat AND those little sausages wrapped in bacon.  Cranberry sauce and stuffing.  Gravy smooth like caramel.  Christmas crackers banging all over the place.

Sleepy afternoons.  Gathering scraps of paper, plastic packaging, twisty ties off the carpet and stuffing them into carrier bags to throw out.  Boxing day with nothing to do.  Go for a watch.  Watch one of those new DVDs.  Eat hot leftovers. 

Maybe it’ll snow?

—db, 2nd December 2011