On Snow Days…
Today I am indulging myself, at the risk of overwhelming readers with yet another musing on snow.
For more years than I want to remember, I worked in positions where it was crucial to be present when it snowed. My presence was what was necessary, not so much that I actually accomplish anything. Rather, it was to give moral support to those whose hands and backs did the heavy lifting (literally and figuratively), hoping to communicate without words that we were all in this together.
But now, a snow day means a day at home, a day where requirements, where appointments, commitments are postponed and rescheduled. A free day, where I am warm, indoors, with soup simmering on the stove, is a special treat.
When I lived in Chicago, life went on – snow, below zero wind-chills, hardy Mid-Westerners wrapped scarves around necks, faces and carried on. Pioneers with that resilient spirit. I became one of them and felt quite self-righteous.
When I first moved to North Carolina, I mocked these soft Southerners, those who, at the first suspicion of inclement weather ran to the store for milk, bread and toilet paper. Where was their can-do spirit, I wondered?
Then I realized – who’s stupid? Who wouldn’t relish a day off, a special holiday, a gift from the snow queen? And I got it – again, I became one of “them.” Yes, one of those who, upon the merest possibility of snow immediately went to my calendar to cancel commitments, ears focused on the weather channel, sharp for precipitation forecasts.
This morning, as I sat by the fire, I felt the stillness, background sounds muted by snowfall. Silence, and that somber, pensive mood that comes with it.
A Facebook friend, author Tommy Hays, posted an excerpt from James Joyce, the poetic ending to his amazing work, The Dead:
“Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried … His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and dead.”
And I sit in my warm house before the fire, electricity intact, grateful, thankful for my luck and undeserved blessings, and hoping for the same for each of us.