The Wonder of a Snow Day
Having a snow day is a lot like taking a vacation without leaving the house. The beauty is that a snow day is a lot cheaper than real travel, yet can bring you some of the same joy.
Getting snow days is one of the blessings of being a teacher. And being a teacher in the same district as your own children multiplies the joy of a snow day even more. Earlier this winter, we had a snow drought that endured until late February, but back-to-back batches of winter weather have finally given us the snow I so desired.
A vacation is an escape to a new land, while a snowy day lets your familiar land become new again. By late February, the trees are bare, the grass is brown, and the sky is gray. The world is a little humbug. But, snow provides an instant transformation. A makeover for the world. I love to see the fields covered in a blanket of white. As Lewis Carroll said:
I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, ‘Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.’
My Instagram feed tells the story of this transformation quite well. Prior to our snow days, I had a lull. The world wasn’t making me see photographs in my mind since each day resembled the other. Once it snowed, I could hardly contain myself, as each walk outside or each trip up my country road sparked photo after photo.
So, what makes a snow day so magical? For a Type-A person like me, whose life is often overbooked with tasks and plans, a snow day is a surprise break from the routine. A day with no obligations declared. What a gift! (And, again, I understand that my job gives me the luxury to enjoy this, instead of the not-so-fun task of having to arrange last-minute childcare.)
This lack of obligations and routine is another way a snow day is like a vacation. Even though I’m at home, where there are plenty of chores needing my attention, the snow gives me the excuse to ignore them. How can one do chores when there’s sledding and baking to be done?
Vacations give you a chance to engage in new activities and favorite hobbies, such as exploring, hiking, golfing, or boating. Similarly, the joy of a snow day is that we can do things we can’t do any other days of the year. We are lucky enough to live on property with a perfect sledding hill. My boys, who don’t like to come outside much, can be lured out for sledding.
Our property is also beautiful to explore while covered in snow. Much of the land is too covered with vines and shrubs during the warmer months to allow for much exploration, but on snow days, we can go anywhere and see it all. The contrast of objects against the white backdrop of the snow makes it easier to see things that aren’t visible year round.
For some reason, diets and healthy eating tend to fall by the wayside while on vacation, which is true for snow days as well. With all the extra time at home, I tend to prepare comfort foods that are rarely cooked on my work days. I might even indulge in baking a sweet or two. Our snow days this year gave me a chance to make Red Velvet Cake Balls and Texas Sheet Cake, which were accompanied by Snow Ice Cream.
Snow days do bring their own kinds of labor. The fire must be built and tended to. The pile of coats, mittens, hats, and boots must be pulled out, put on, pulled off, stepped over, spread out, dried up, and put away…only to be pulled out and put on again. The dishes overflow the sink because of all the meals, the baking, and the cups of hot cocoa. There are sidewalks and driveways to be shoveled. But the rhythm of this mess is less stressful than our regular routine.
At the end of a vacation, our family always looks forward to the return home…that place we were so eager to leave just a few days before. Similarly, after too many snow days, after our brains have turned mushy and our bodies have spent too many hours on the couch, we are ready again to return to our other “home” and our days filled with structure and routines. Just like winter makes us appreciate spring when it comes, snow days make us appreciate our normal days. Each in its own time.
Despite the fact that I haven’t left my house on these snow days, I truly felt like I’ve gone on vacation.
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