I was bought this snow globe by an old friend many years ago now.
It’s a bleak thing – a stream, some leafless winter trees. It has a button that can be pressed to turn on the sound of the wind and an echoing owl calling far away in the distance, adding to the desolation. There are a few lines by Basho the Japanese poet etched into the silver stand: ‘Winter solitude – in a world of one colour the sound of the wind.’
I used to find this globe soothing. The sound of the wind and owl were comforting, the bareness of the trees beautiful and sparse, the stream enchanting, the words of Basho meaningful.
These days though I find the whole thing disturbing. I can barely look at it - funny how things change.
Partly it’s because the water has ‘bloomed’, becoming tainted and discoloured by algae that has spoiled the cleanliness of the simple scene. I won’t ponder on that statement for too long, it would take me somewhere I don't want to go just now, and besides it's far more than simply the colour of the water.
What I once found interesting in the globe I now find unsettling. For me this globe has come to represent something sinister, an ending. I used to think of this globe as dreamlike, these days it's nightmarish. I can’t bear to look into it. When I shake the snow I think of radioactive fallout. When I look in the stream I see pollution. The sound of the wind is desolate, the owl cries out in pain in a wilderness. It’s diseased. Wrong.
I don’t want it around me any more. This is the last that anyone will ever see of it.
I have buried it in a place that only I know and I’m leaving it there. I don’t want it haunting me forever.
It is the snow globe isn't it?
Funny how things change.