Outside my window is a winter wonderland of gleaming white. Schools are closed, the buses have stopped running, everything is grinding to a halt in the face of all this innocent-seeming fluffy whiteness.
But a strange thing seems to have happened. Not only has the snow transformed the landscape, it seems to have transformed the people too.
The snow has made us all slow down - it is just not possible to rush around at break neck speed. Suddenly we start to see which of our commitments are really vital and which we can live without. In particular, driving has become so difficult that we have all started walking more: to school (when its open), to the local shops, the local cafe. Life has become simpler and closer to home.
Most noticeably, people have started talking to each other. In the shops, or just passing in the streets we smile, we stop and speak to one another - about the weather, about how we are managing, if anyone needs any help. Neighbours look out for each other, families gather together in front of the fire.
It is not that the snow doesn't have negatives, of course it does: passengers trapped on trains or in their cars, disruption to work, dangerous conditions. But in the face of all these difficulties it seems that we have the ability to pull together and to start to see what is really important.
It makes me wonder whether there isn't a way to try to replicate these feelings, without needing some sort of crisis to bring us to it. As Jan Struther's Mrs Miniver observes "It oughtn't to need a war to make us talk to each other in buses, and invent our own amusements in the evenings, and live simply, and eat sparingly, and recover the use of our legs, and get up early enough to see the sun rise."
So maybe the real challenge for us all is to keep smiling, keep talking, keep walking, when the snow is no longer with us.