We intended to go to the snow. The goal was set. It was to be a 7am departure.
We left at 8am. Tried not to make too much noise, so we wouldn’t wake my parents, and managed to evacuate the house with a bag stuffed full of random clothes – hopefully a match would be made, a few snacks and my camera. Very important.
The drive down to Corin Forest is one of Canberra’s wonderful hidden treasures. The ‘mountains’ of Canberra. We could see snow in the distance. That was Mt Franklin, the mountain of bottled water fame.
Around corners we twisted with frantic instructions not to brake (from Henry to me), as deceleration is an anathema to Henry, and braking around corners is a sign of a novice driver. Generalising freely and with an absence of philosophical discussion, which is a sign that we are not on speaking terms (just a phase), we still managed to keep things amiable until we reached the Corin Forest encampment where we spotted distinct signs of snow, but only on the southern side of the hills.
The gate was closed so on we went to view the dam.
A dam is a wonderous thing. Is there anything more of a testament to mankind’s assumed dominance over the earth than such schemes as the Snowy Mountain Hydro Scheme and, say, Hoover dam? A dam is violating the natural order of things and stamping evidence of civilisation all over the landscape, though the end result can be spectacular in and of itself. All that concrete!
Henry took the kids on a little adventure, climbing down escarpments, while I, ever the reluctant rule-breaker (even if the lines are fuzzy), took a different path. One child got stuck.
“Stay there”, I called, “I’ll come and get you.”
I climb back around and look down to where she was. There is no sign.
“Sophia. Where are you?!” I say again.
“I told you to stay where you were!”
“I didn’t hear you.”
“Okay. Stay there, I’m coming down!”
I step over the balancing rocks and when I am almost at the bottom I slip. I put my hand out and it grazes over gravel. Part of my skin has come off. The pain (it is more annoying than painful) runs up my arm and into my brain where it turns into the most frustrating of angers. I am annoyed.
“Argh. Henry! Can we please just go to the snow! Come on. We’re going! Sophia! Come up here!”
“Mum, c h i l l o u t!” Gunther calls back though I barely hear his small voice.
“Okay I’m coming.” I spot movement in the bushes as Sophia inches her way back.
When she reaches me I take her hand and we walk back up to the car. It is slightly cold.
Sophia cries as I buckle her in. “I just wanted to be with dad!”
“Daddy shouldn’t have taken you down there. Don’t you want to see the snow?”
“Yes, but I wanted to see the water with Daddy.”
“Don’t worry about it. He is coming back now.”
I see them slowly coming back up the hill, clambering over rocks. Gunther looks happy. He has a stick.
Finally they reach the car. I have bandaged my hand.
“Gee Tul, can’t we just have an adventure?”
I’ve let go of the frustration. I don’t feel it any more. I can kind of tell that they’ve had a fun adventure and I’m glad about that, but I am always aware of the time and the plan, and climbing over rocks down a steep hill was not part of this morning’s plan. Sometimes I’ve gotta let the plan go, but this morning I’ve been put out and my hand hurts. I’m being a wuss, but I’m going to put it behind me now, because we still have to go see the snow and it’s going to be fun (dammit).
“Yes, okay Henry, but I just want to go see the snow. We don’t have much time.”
Gunther pipes up, “Mum, I just wanted to climb down rocks and then we saw some water and I found an exploring stick.”
“That’s great, babe. Mummy hurt her hand.”
“You just need an esploorin’ stick.”
“Yeah, Tuli, you just need an esploorin’ stick.” joins in Henry.
“Okay, okay. Next time I’ll get an esploorin’ stick then.”
We are back on the road and heading toward Corin while Henry tells me how much I sound like a parrot when I’m cross and screeching. Well. I can handle that. It’s probably fair.
At Corin there are people. Where have they come from? The free, natural snow is cordoned off. The man made snow costs money, but our lifestyle does not involve living for money at the moment and so we can’t just throw it around, especially when a free option is available.
So we drive down the road and park just out of the mud to find our own patch. And we do. This sub-alpine Australian bush is beautiful. Gunther wades through a stream and his feet get wet, but we keep going. We find snow to throw at each other. I dive right into one of Henry’s shots. We climb higher. Henry finds a ready made snowman, Gunther loves this and bashes it up. Henry throws snow at Sophia and that sets her off, the cold starts to get to her. She puts on a brave face and stands under Henry’s snow throws. Meanwhile Gunther is now past it. His feet are cold. He is cold. His legs are hurting. He cries in the background.
“Alright, time to go home.”
I have to carry Gunther back over the stream and up to the car. Sophia walks, but is in tears. Our entire foray from car to snow and back again has taken up 30 minutes. But we did it. We saw the snow. That may be all we see of it this Winter. Perhaps.
This is real life.
Thankfully the car ride back is fairly silent with kids munching bikkies and carrots, and we just cruise through this beautiful scenery.
“So, did you enjoy yourself?” Henry asks
“Yes, I did. I’m glad we did that.”
“And you took lots of photos. That’s good. You can blog about it.”
“Yes, I’ll make it look super ideal and pretty and cut all the bad ones out so that people will think we live the most charming life and will want to live our lives.”
Oh. The irony. Oh. Blogging. Oh. Internetland. You are a fanciful place.