I stayed home today. No, I didn’t accomplish great things with my extra time. I didn’t walk five miles on my treadmill. I didn’t clean the house or do the rest of my laundry. I didn’t work on my novel. Didn’t even curl up with someone else’s novel! I just wrote a few Christmas cards, finished my online shopping, read a magazine, did a little writing, and spent some quality time with my husband. We both stayed home today because winter arrived last night and our hill was a snowy, icy mess. We decided it was better to be safe than “dedicated”. A few years ago I suppose I would have headed off to work no matter what. But age has taught me that my life is more important than any job, even one I love. I felt a little guilty this morning, but as the day progressed I was sure of my decision. Only one car ventured out on our normally busy road. Even the highway had only minimal traffic until about ten o’clock.
This is an early snow for us. It began yesterday with a few light flakes during recess. The children were so excited! They ran and jumped and screamed. Several told me they were going to build a snowman. However, I’m told my students never got enough snow to fulfill their dreams. On this side of the state (remember, I live 57 miles from work) it was a different story. On my way home it became whiter and whiter, until I was in a full-fledged snowstorm about ten miles from the house. The cold temperatures and some ice added more danger to the mix. I was so grateful to get home! And too tired to build a snowman.
I’m not sure why snow excites us so much, or how it came to symbolize the “picture perfect Christmas”. We had huge snow drifts for Christmas when we lived in Iowa and I don’t think it made the holidays any happier. Maybe we’ve just become accustomed to the idea that Santa is happier with snow. Or perhaps we associate snow with staying home.
I think the only time we are truly blessed by the snow is when there is enough of it to keep us all in our homes! Perhaps that’s why we get excited. There is something special about sharing a day of forced relaxation. There’s a quiet eeriness when traffic stops and neighborhoods are covered in white. There’s a feeling of esprit de corps in knowing your neighbors are also curled up on the sofa with an afghan and a cup of hot cocoa.
I remember the first time I was “snow-bound”. I was around ten. We lived in California and about ½ an inch of snow fell in the San Joaquin Valley. It was such an unprecedented phenomenon that all the schools cancelled classes! I remember how odd the huge sled we picked olives with looked covered by a layer of snow. And I remember thinking how strange it was that something so pretty and calming could change everything, including my school schedule. That’s the power of snow. It’s quiet and pretty, but it can pack a lethal punch if you don’t respect it.
Thanks to a very smart driver’s ed teacher, I learned to drive in snow. I was living back here in OK by the time I was old enough to drive. Our teacher knew that we wouldn’t be driving in perfect conditions all of our life so he took us out in the snowy parking lot and taught us to drive and turn and park on the slick surface. He took us out in rainstorms and after dark. He made me drive when I was afraid, and I’ve been grateful to him ever since. The first time I drove in a real Iowa snowstorm I asked God to bless him!
I drove through a Pennsylvania snowstorm a few years ago when we went to Vermont for Christmas. That was one of the happiest Christmases we’ve had in years because we finally got to watch our grandchildren open their gifts. However, I wouldn’t live in Vermont if someone paid me. Sorry kids! My old California bones have enough difficulty adjusting to the one or two light snows we get in southeastern Oklahoma. The 60-70 inches a year that Vermont gets would put me into rigor mortis.
So…I’m perfectly happy to call today’s snow my “White Christmas”. I don’t need any more. I’ve had the experience of a day of relaxation. I’ve seen the birds prancing about looking for seeds. I’ve watched the ice drip off the lingering rose buds. We can move on to spring. Anytime. I’m ready. Did the weather man honestly say that it’s going to be 9 degrees tomorrow??? Is that even a real temperature? Is he kidding me? The official first day of winter isn’t until December 21st? Bummer….