Today, when I cycled to work, the temperature outside was -2 deg C (not normal for this time of the year!). There was ice on every car window and wind shield that I passed. Even large areas of many footpaths were icy. As I made my way through, I feared the pain that I was going to feel very soon on the tip of my fingers even with my gloves on. I dreaded the days to come as riding the bike in the winters is no pleasure.
5 minutes into riding….Arggghhh….surged the pain within my finger tips. Sooner than I thought! In all it was a 30 minute ride from home to office going through two commons, the Coldham’s common and the Stourbridge common (Common land or common, is land owned collectively with traditional rights such as to allow their livestock to graze upon it).
Thus, they are big open lands covered with grass, with scattered cattle and with only a singular cycle track. The temperature, when you go through the commons, is a good few degrees lower than that in the city (for obvious reasons). As my cycle approached the common, the pain intesified. I knew I was right about the pain, it was bad. But who knew that I would be wrong about the ride being unpleasant!
As I entered the Coldham’s common, instead of seeing big fields of green grass, all I saw around me was a white expanse. White because of those tender grass blades being trapped in ice. As the sun shone from the east at a low angle and I rode through the common, the blades shined and sparkled at me. Sometimes they even reflected the colours of a rainbow. The pain in my cold numb finger tips was forgotten and the delight that lay in front of my eyes took over me.
I think those blades were happy to be in that prison today. Joyous that they got the attention. Glad because people that rode past ignoring their beauty, took note today.
Staring at the brilliant display of sparks, I realised that I had a big smile pasted on my face.
Why was that? What I was seeing was just water after all!
Yes it was, but it was water in its crystallised form. Nothing novel and yet so special. Next time I have a drink, I’ll look at those ice cubes in my glass, and I’ll think about the this day and the crystallised form of water that made my painful ride such a pleasure.