Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The White Garden

I stare through my bedroom window,

I see a white garden.

The leaves, the grass, the fence – all white.

My left index finger is wet. How did that happen? I look closely at the window and soft beads of water draw my attention to the corner.

Condensation. I learnt this word in science. The cause of the condensation is extreme moisture in the air. When warm air meets a cooler surfaces its transforms into a state of liquid. Not hot enough for air, but not cold enough for ice.

I’ve never seen a white garden before. In Melbourne, you see green gardens, brown gardens, damp muddy gardens even the odd charcoal black gardens that appear after the fires. But never white.

I want to open the window and touch the snow that rests on the window pane but I am not allowed. The cost of keeping warm has been repeatedly mentioned at the dinner table

“Can you believe how much gas and electricity costs nowadays! You can’t turn on the heater and leave the door open. You’re literally burning away money”.

My older brother blames it on greenhouse gases.

“the fact that we’re using fossil fuels to keep warm is the reason why there is freakish weather in the first place”.

My father gives my older brother a strange look. You know the one that says don’t get too smart for your own good look. My teacher uses it all the time when I take too long to answer her question

“Can anyone explain how evaporation works?”

I give her the text book answer that I memorized and there it is. My father’s look on my teacher’s faces.

I look at the white garden. I wonder how cold it is outside. I wonder if the homeless people have made ice shelters. I saw it on tv once. If you get caught in a snow storm in the Swiss Alps, you are meant to dig into the snow and hide inside.

Mum says the church looks after the homeless. Yet I have never seen any beds or wardrobes for the homeless in church. And all the church goers just ignore them every time they ask for help outside the church steps. Why don’t the church goers give them food and water?

We were told school would be closed and the news told all the adults to not drive unless essential. The news reported “expected chaos due to heavy snowfall” and “disruption”. My dad shouts at the news.

"Can you believe this country! a bit of snow and everything completely shuts down."

Its amazing, its only water, the same water on my window and yet it can make an entire city stop. It’s funny to think how something so delicate can change so much.

I like the white garden. I like having the family home. I like the day off school.