I love a good snow day. I always have. We had one last week. They are pretty rare in this part of the country so when one happens it’s an ‘event.’ Not momentous like Christmas, a wedding or a milestone birthday. But in some nonsensical way, celebratory just the same. And if the truth be told, the amount of snow that causes a snow day on the West Coast is laughable compared to that of my wonder years. A heavy enough frost out here can bring the city to its collective knees. The size of the celebration is not necessarily equal to the depth of the snow either. It’s not always relative. I think even Einstein would agree.
When I was a kid a snow day was synonymous with no school. That in itself was cause enough for celebration. Nothing much has changed since then. When my kids were younger they behaved pretty much the same way I did. Their reactions echoed those of a girl growing up in another place, another time. Same holds true today for my grand daughter.
It pretty much goes down like this. If you wake up to a magical and mysterious Brobdingnagian sized nighttime dump, you immediately turn to some form of authority for their take on the situation. I’m not talking about your parents here. I’m talking the BIG authority. And no not God. I’m talking the Media. And only the local, close-to-home purveyors of news and weather will do. Who cares what’s going on in the rest of the world when you’ve got a day full of plans to make, your life to reconfigure. Your snow day trumps all. Will you do the happy dance, jump for joy, slap the high five? Or will you grit your teeth, throw on an extra sweater, button up your pioneer spirit and walk five million miles to school in this crap? One’s emotional landscape can be turned on a dime depending on the news. Pretty or ugly. Which is it? Truth is, it’s just cold precipitation and sometimes it can be pretty ugly.
Let’s say the news is cause for celebration, a paradoxical thing often occurs, whether it happened last week, last year or the last century. The very same kids who are incapable of pulling up their bootstraps (literally) and getting themselves to school are supernaturally transformed into hardy Nordic tribesmen who charge fearlessly into the very depths of the white stuff. Here they commune, they romp about, and play gleefully like there is no tomorrow. And in truth there isn’t, at least not like this. This may be it. The one and only snow day. The one chance to throw caution to the wind, make a snowman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Uncle Bob, fall backwards, with complete trust into the blanketed earth, to make a glorious one-of-a-kind snow angel, slide down the closest hill on a rickety wooden sleigh, broken toboggan or hunk of cardboard, have a spontaneous snowball fight, put on old leather skates, cry out to God for the sheer splendor of it all, and just let go.
Snow is seductive. It beckons. Calls your name. Calls you forth. And calls you back home. It calls a treasured daughter to a garden-sized ice rink her Old Man made in the backyard solely for her skating pleasure. It calls out love through the years, the passage of time, from the heart of the whiteness.