I know that this won’t resonate with everyone who stumbles across this blog, but there is something magical about a “Snow Day” in the south. I grew up in middle Georgia, went to college fifteen miles from the Florida state line, and worked in south and north Georgia. Now, my time in Albany was riddled with storms, but not the kind that produce snow and days off of work (no matter how hard they try), and I missed the last Atlanta snow event by a half of a year.
Obviously, the gravity and focus of the Snow Day changes as we age. When I was a kid, we had enough snow once to cancel school. The day was spent building snowmen and throwing snowballs with my parents.
Now, we worry about traffic disasters (like the one this week in Atlanta), and if you’re a teacher, you worry about how you’re going to make up for all of that lost time. I have a class this semester that meets three times a week. I’ve seen them only 5 times out of the 9 I should have seen them by now. We’ll figure it out, though. We have to.
But even as an adult, especially in places and lifetimes in which Snow Days don’t come that often, there is a magic–an anticipation. I sat on my loveseat all day on Tuesday watching the windows, waiting for the first flakes. I started watching at 7:00 AM, even though snow wasn’t predicted until 9:00 AM, and didn’t actually start falling until after nightfall. But I watched.
All of that watching eventually paid off as first ice and then snow started to fall. I was awake watching it for hours, until something like 2:00 AM.
As someone who doesn’t get to see it that often, I think I was afraid of it disappearing before I could wake up the next morning. I knew it wouldn’t, but I was worried about it. Every time I woke up during the night, I would walk to the blinds to make sure the snow was still there. The next morning I walked around in it–chunks of ice gathered on my shoes–but I didn’t get out much beyond my apartment because of the roads and southern drivers navigating black ice.
But through the windows, I watched kids and parents and animals encounter snow–maybe for the first time. There were snowmen. There were snowballs. There was uncertainty from children–unsure of where to step or what to do with a handful of foreign and cold snow.
Personal confession: I get a little bit sad every time I walk outside and more has melted away.
I know that to some people it’s a hassle, and it can definitely be a chore trying to catch up with work because of missed days, but I hope I never lose that feeling that I had the other night when I was waiting. It’s one of the closest feelings to childhood Christmas Eves that I’ve felt in a long time.
“If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown!”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature