That Falls Upon Us Soft As Snow…


…is a quote from somewhere that seemed the ideal title for the taradiddle I intended to write today: a gentle whinge about the way that the accumulation of imperceptible parts can form an overriding whole that is apt to consume you. The perfect quote: all I had to do was attribute it. I had no idea from whence it came, so I read and I Googled and Lo! I found out that it is not a quote at all. As far as I can see, it has tumbled out of my very own head, and this knowledge, it will come as no surprise to you, has changed the whole nature of what I must now write.

I started by wondering why that particular phrase was in my head in the first place and, having found it there, why I automatically assumed that it had been written by somebody else, when I have a brain as adept as any other at throwing up such baloney.

I realise that it dribbled from my unconscious and coalesced into some kind of demi-axiom simply because it was vaguely relevant to what I had marshalled together inside my skull, in preparation for its transcription onto paper this evening. What I don’t know is what it was doing there in the first place. It is not profound, it is not clever, it is not even cute, yet I was convinced that it lay hidden inside my head because somebody else had said it first – and possibly in a context that did make it smart. That I can find no evidence of this kind of devalues it: like having a serviette doodle by Picasso bearing no signature other than Colonel Sanders; like knowing that the pithy epithet that you have cherished for so long is nothing more than some strange Pam Ayres/Val Doonican hybrid, formulated within your own head and trotted out betimes to looks of blank bemusement.

It is like the beloved song lyric that you discover you have been singing incorrectly for the last thirty years. Is the proper lyric ever as good as the one that you have lodged inside your head? Of course not. Is the song ever quite the same again once you’ve learned the truth? Unfortunately no. You will always slightly resent the obfuscation. You will always feel that the lyricist deliberately set out to deceive you.

And that perception sort of washed over all of my previous intentions, like a spilled carton of single cream in the fridge salad tray, and became all that I was left with. The soft detritus left by the step by step dissolution of what I believed I knew to be true overlaid by the dusting of what I now knew was not so – like snow renders everywhere featurelessly similar. Like truth that falls upon us soft as snow…

“The snow doesn’t give a soft white damn whom it touches.” ― E.E. Cummings