Poured Out and Shaken Down
Lights flicker in the cloudy winter sky as evening moves through and every living thing settles down. Bridget, our faithful Lab, circles round and hunkers down, close to our fireplace, stove, or legs. All along Outer Drive children and their parents have finished their nighttime baths and stories and are long lost to blissful slumber. The cabbie ends his shift, and the last group of fast food workers heads out in a clump. There is little on the horizon that promises change.
But, before dawn, word spreads quickly from the blue glow of our TV and computer screens, from our radios and phones. Early rising parents make quick calls to their parents –or to their child care centers. It has snowed all night, and no one is going anywhere.
First to rise, I am privy to a magical “let’s start all over again” landscape that makes us believe in childhood and innocence and purity. Returning to bed, I hear the awe of our local weatherman : “There’s a foot on the ground and we’re calling for six inches more!” I want to nudge my husband into action: “Let’s get the kids up and head over to that hill where we sledded in the snow of ‘93!”
The choices. Ah, the choices are endless. Should I turn over and luxuriate in the lagniappe of extra sleep. Or maybe I’ll plod from window to window watching the backlit snow and trying to figure out where it’s coming down the fastest. Perhaps I could rise again and begin mixing the pancakes so that my husband and children will smell the holiday before they hear of it or see it. Maybe we should all hurriedly call friends and make plans to meet in the street. Or I could return to yesterday’s book after pulling the La-z-boy close enough to the window to prop my feet on the ledge.
I believe in snow days. The unplanned bounty of a foot of nature’s best — poured out and shaken down — is a gift that is best when least expected. Snow days deliver me from ho-hum routine and smothering mediocrity. They signal the arrival of the perfection and amazement that take us all back to childhood. They renew the promise of Eden, releasing me from the need to work. Snow days are not playing hooky, are not R and R (with a wink to knowing coworkers), are not “mental health days.” Snow days are amazing grace, granted just often enough to make us all believers again.
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