Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sullied snow

When we think of snow it's always virgin white. This kind of notional snow does not last very long and we can really see how dirty the city streets are when the snow merges with dirt. This is what remains after last night's strange lightning storm was followed by a cascade of icy snow pellets. It doesn't take very long for the sun to melt this down to slush, and then it seems to hang around footpaths and gutters. Now snow is water, and the two share the same symbolism - it's all about the unconscious. But there is a view that snow symbolically represents the "white" stage of the anima during individuation, where the female aspect of the soul is being "purified". So suggests Jung in his analysis of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. And we have to remember that no two snowflakes are alike. It's the principle that counts, but I can't help wondering what is represented by our city's combination of snow and grime. What does it say about the city? When the snow and grime coalesce we walk cautiously over the mixture, holding ourselves in a peculiar fashion as if somehow that will prevent us falling. Try to have a look the next time the weather turns the street into an obstacle course - or maybe you can catch yourself holding this posture.