A helping hand

There’s a moment right before you fall, when you know you’re going to fall.

For me, that moment happened today, on a slanty bit of path outside Blackrock Shopping centre. I knew as I stepped onto the ice that it was a mistake, could feel my trusty hiking boots unable to get a grip and looking down all I could see were my feet slide back and back and back. It seemed to go on forever and I couldn’t do anything except get ready for the impact. But it never came.

I didn’t fall because just as I was about to a hand grabbed my arm from behind, a hand that was solid and safe. When I turned around I saw a lady – a much older lady – with a stick that she’d dug into the ice. I’d never seen her before, but she was smiling out from under her fur hat. “Come on,” she said, and reached out a hand to pull me up to the top where the ice had already melted, only letting go when we were both safe and sturdy, saying goodbye as we parted ways into the centre.

If I’d been blogging every day since the weekend, I suspect the blog would have different takes on the snow. Wonder at its beauty, calm in its silence, the frustration of cancelled plans and foregone work opportunities. But now, watching the thaw through the window, the ice that becomes water, what stands out in my mind from this week is the kindness this weather brings out in people, the sense of us all being in it together.

So thank you to my lady in Blackrock for stopping me falling and to my neighbour who’s been busy all week clearing a walkway along the path and snow from my car and to the Gate theatre for allowing myself and my friend to reschedule our tickets to Jane Eyre for January instead of last night.

And as we get ready to wave goodbye to the snow, I hope that some of that kindness stays behind, long after it’s gone.

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