On Snow Days
My school district is having a snow day today, due to inclement weather. As is the heathens’ district. As are most of the school districts in this general part of the world. When my call came from the superintendent’s office shortly after 5:30 this morning, there wasn’t a flake anywhere around to be had. However, the forecast was not good: the NWS had put up a winter storm warning, in effect from 7 a.m. until 1 a.m. Thursday morning, and was predicting 8-12 inches of new snow, with “near-blizzard conditions expected at times.” By 10 a.m. we had white-out conditions here on the side of the mountain.
If I looked out the front windows, down toward Waldo County, I could believe that Troy and the surrounding environs had been effectively wiped from the face of the earth. The state road below the house was totally white: no state plows were out yet, apparently.
Because I am a schoolteacher, snow days are an illicit pleasure. I’m skiving off work, and there’s nothing you can do about it! Quite frankly, they are much more fun now than they ever were when I was a kid, because, in a way, there’s more at stake. After all, I’m the adult now. Arguably.
So this is me, on a snow day: sitting around for far longer than I’d ever consider any other day–even weekends–especially weekends–in my pjs. I’ve got the wood stove going, and in the dining room, it pops and sings, and the kettle atop it whispers as the water heats up. I’ve got music playing, gently, because the entire world is muffled by the fall
of snow, and who cares to interrupt that? I’ve got the tea pot full. I’ve got half-formed plans for writing and submitting as well as other, pedestrian plans for cleaning out the refrigerator (though I may be far too busy doing very little to get around to that). When the mail comes–Cindy the mail carrier may be late, with the roads looking as they do–I’ll pull on my boots and slog down to the road to see what’s in the box. I might cook something: bagels, maybe? The point is just that I may do all that, and I may not do all that. I might just read some books, or catch up on the world through the New Yorker. The day is mine, to spend as I wish. Snow days exist outside of time.
10:46 a.m. First state plow rumbles by on the road below the house.
The cats like snow days. They curl up behind the wood stove, on the mittens and hats which end up there to dry after the heathens stumble in out of the snow. The storm, though, makes the dogs restless. Dewey the beagle, though 13 years old, still believes in his heart of hearts that he’s a hunter, and that there are rabbits out there for the chasing; he looks out the windows with such sad expressions of longing that it’s heart-breaking. Star is a border collie,
15 years old, who used to puzzle me when she would root in the deep snow with her nose, zig-zagging back and forth in some weird frenzy; then someone told me–she’s looking for the sheep, who are probably buried in the drifts, and trapped. Of course. We have never had any sheep here, but no matter: she’s a sheep dog, and she has a job to do. Lately, though, she’ll step out in the snow, have a look around, and decide that any hypothetical sheep can fend for themselves, because after 15 years, she’s retired. She has found that she much prefers lying on the heat vents and taking long naps.
Maybe Star and the cats have the right idea.
Snow days are days for reading books, humming along to favorite songs, drinking tea, and daydreaming. Cleaning the refrigerator is looking less and less attractive all the time.
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