In the year 352, on August 5th , snow fell on the Esquiline, one of the seven hills of Rome. Considering this to be a sign from God, Pope Liberius built a church on the spot which later became the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. As I was explaining this to my group of tourists on my visit to Rome last week, the heavens opened and a hailstorm transformed the whole Piazza into a white square. Miracles happen.
Returning home to Les Sarziers, the bad weather was forgotten and we had lunch outside in brilliant sunshine. Next day the morning turned grey and by 10 o’clock it started to snow. It continued to snow and snow.
Our neighbour Roger, who relies on crutches to get from his kitchen to his car, and his car to the old peoples’ home where his 95 year old mother is being looked after, got stuck on his way home. By now the snow was 20cm deep. We accompanied him back to the house and stayed for the inevitable Pastis. We wondered whether anybody had thought of inventing “Pastis chaud”, a variation on the mulled wine theme but we all agreed that it would be pretty revolting.
At midnight it was still snowing.
The next morning was bright and sunny, but what had been a green spring landscape had turned into a white Christmas scene. All the daffodils, the violets, the little yellow flowers, the flowering peach tree had disappeared and the countryside had turned into a silent paradise.
Today, two days later, it is 16 degrees and we are back having lunch outside. Yes, miracles happen.