05 February 2012

The snow is beginning to melt in Cambridge this afternoon

“Grief melts away/ Like snow” … Trinity College Cambridge, in the snow this afternoon. George Herbert was a fellow here 400 years ago (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)

Patrick Comerford

After last night’s trudge through the snowfall in Cambridge, I awoke this morning [Sunday, 5 February 2012] to find the college roofs, and Hall Court and Cloister Court, on either side of my rooms in Sidney Sussex College, covered in thick blankets of snow.

During the night, some students had put together a snowman on the grass in Hall Court, and a smaller one – small enough to be a snow child – in Cloister Court. I doubt either of them is a fellow, but they have both stayed on the grass throughout the day.

The College Eucharist this morning was celebrated by the chaplain and pastoral dean, the Revd Dr Peter Waddell, who has been my host for the weekend, and in our prayers we remembered the college, “as it settles into a new term”; the Cambridge Central Aid Society, a local charity that work in the city; the Church of Ireland Theological Institute; and the people of Syria.

Later, we went back with some of the students to Y1 for brunch, before meeting an old school friend for lunch in Bill’s in Green Street.

The snow is beginning to melt this afternoon, but there is slush and ice everywhere. As I walked along Trinity Street, passed Trinity College this afternoon, I was reminded of George Herbert (1593-1633), the priest-poet who was once a Fellow of Trinity College and Reader in Rhetoric at Cambridge, before being ordained in 1630. He wrote:

How Fresh, O Lord, how sweet and clean
Are thy returns! ev’n as the flowers in spring;
To which, besides their own demean,
The late-past frosts tributes of pleasure bring.
Grief melts away
Like snow in May,
As if there were no such cold thing.

I certainly hope this snow does not wait until May to melt away. I hope it goes overnight, so I can catch my flight back to Dublin in the morning. Indeed, it would be good to be able to walk over to chapel for Choral Evensong this evening without slipping on the slush and ice.

Bicycles in the snow at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)

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