Snow Day January 28, 2015
I remember waking in the morning, to the white of snow
Outside the window —
Mr. Frost’s designs inscribed inside the panes of glass.
What a sense of wonder – the world has changed,
Put on a magical new costume
That makes every little thing brand new.
But the overwhelming feeling is not so much my awe
As a deep, transforming breath of freedom –
Knowing that all duty has evaporated,
And instead of everyday requirements to get to school on time,
Play leaps to the fore –
Unbridled, unpredictable, unfettered, liberated play—
A gleeful abandon of sober obligation;
Exhilaration colored white and patterned frosty lace.
The gloomy, serious predictions on the television, foretelling the “worst” snowstorm bearing down upon New England, my childhood home, brings back to me a sense of glee that in my memory only attaches to the occasional morning surprise announcement of “Snow Day!” As I listened over the last couple of days to the preparations for a winter storm and realized that government offices have finally seen the good sense of making everyone — not just children — stay home when the roads will become impassable, I was surprised to feel again that overjoyed surprise that I thought had died with childhood. I mentioned it to a friend who had lived most of her life in southern California, who found herself unexpectedly grounded in New York in preparation for the storm, and was dumbfounded when she reminded me that, as a native of southern California, she had never experienced a “snow day” before. Oh! Of course, but… how bizarre it seemed that I could not share with her an experience that to me seemed so natural. All my adult life, thinking about snow as an obstacle to getting to work, I had never before talked with anyone about “snow days.” Now, I’m grateful to have a chance to revive that buried joyful memory – and to learn for the first time how particularly it relates to my childhood in New England, where big snow storms happen occasionally but aren’t the stuff of daily winter life, so a big one can unfetter everyone for a surprise day of fun.