Sunday, January 23, 2011

Message in a Snow Day

Kids don’t have to be told the value of snow days. They go to bed at night dreaming of snowflakes, and wake up in the morning to a miracle. The math test is cancelled! A chance to watch cartoons! An opportunity to build a snowman, go sledding, or play nonstop video games. Rarely do children complain about snow days because—and rightly so—they see the snow as a way to just stop everything and start over! A snow day, to a child, is a gift to be thoroughly savored.
            Not so for adults. Yes, the snow looks lovely, for a moment. But then there’s shoveling and clearing out the cars.  Snow means, possibly, that you can’t get to work, or if you try, you’ll be driving in dangerous conditions, or waiting for a bus that may never arrive. Snow means that your book club meeting is cancelled (in my case for the third Friday in a row!), that you can’t meet your best friend downtown for lunch, or that you have to reschedule the doctor’s appointment you’ve waited a month to get. Unless you’re a skier, snow is just plain aggravating in spite of its ephemeral beauty. It upsets your plans, your day, your expectations. We grown-ups, it seems, detest a snow day for the very same reason that kids love it.
            I will admit that I’m tired of the snow already, and it’s only January. And every time I wake up to that deep blanket of white I struggle with the adjustment. It takes a few moments before I can let go of my plans for the day and settle into the fact that everything needs to be revised. But after a brief interlude, I invariably surrender to the snowflakes.
            Why fight it? Yes, a snow day means that you can be practical: straighten out your over-flowing recipe box, get a head start on your income tax return, or call the office and work from home. But it can also mean snuggling back into bed with a book, pulling out your yoga mat, or just sitting by the window with a cup of tea and watching the juncos and sparrows having the time of their lives at the bird feeder. When you wake up to five, ten—or twenty—inches it may seem like the day is shot. Or you can look at it as a great opportunity to erase your expectations and welcome the possibilities. Anyone got a toboggan?

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