Friday Takeaway: Snow Day

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Ipraise thee, snow day.

I praise thee because the
snow and cold only makes me appreciate spring all the more when it finally comes my way. Surely Californians and Floridians don’t experience the same sweet relief when the air softens and the ground grows green and dewy. (Grass! Sigh.)

I praise thee because there is no other day on which I bake not one but two loaves of bread, back to back, and the best thing about it is that it’s helping keep the house warm.

I praise thee because a snow day forces me to stay in, give the shops a break, give my car a break, give the rest of the world a break, exit the hustle and bustle and contemplate a little of what’s happening in my head.

I praise thee, verily, because only on a snow day does the world hush so deeply that I couldn’t ignore the voices in my head if I tried. 

I praise thee because I chose to live here in New England, damn it, and I knew what the weather was like here when I made that decision. I brought this on myself, and now I praise it.

And if that sounds like it might possibly be a complaint rather than a compliment, dear snow day, please let me rush to continue that the peacefulness of a deep, fluffy snowfall is like no other. Except perhaps the peacefulness of listening to peepers in dusk in late spring, or sun breaking through a midsummer afternoon rain shower,  or the crickets singing in late summer, or the crackle of a mid-autumn bonfire. 

OK, this essay is going slightly off the rails. You’ll have to pardon me, because it’s freaking cold. I swear I can practically see my breath indoors, and I lost feeling in my left pinky toe, and the ice dam on my porch roof is leaving me a little preoccupied. Back to my point: I praise the snow day, because if there’s one thing I can say about it, it’s that it’s all about family togetherness. A whole lot of family togetherness. Kids sleep in; nonessential workers like myself work from home; indoor cats, well, they continue to do their indoor cat thing. We stay in our pajamas all day and eat cookies. That is, until the power goes out. Then all hell breaks loose, because there’s nothing for the kids to doooooo, and all the food I’ve been cooking to keep the house warm is about to go bad, and it’s getting darker and darker out there because the snow just keeps coming down. And now all we can eat are the leftover cookie crumbs.

But I do love — really, I do! — that there comes a moment where we all have to retreat from the world. Sometimes the governor actually mandates it. I lived in southern California one winter, and as December marched into January and then February without a single rainy, curl-up-with-a-book kind of day, I missed these New England weather events. The sunshiney, 70-degree days felt relentless.

And there’s also the moment when the last flake gently swivels its way to the glassy, ice-covered earth, and the sun finally breaks through, and world is crystaline. The plows crisscross the town, and we all check that our neighbors aren’t going to have heart attacks digging themselves out, and maybe we offer each other an extra loaf of banana bread, since we baked two. And kids scramble to do all the homework that they neglected the night before, once they saw the weather report. And the next day we’re all back at it again, usually not much worse for the wear, just a little frosty around the edges.

Someone recently asked me to describe a perfect  day, and you know? A snow day comes very close. A snow day with plenty of food in the fridge, and full power, and a roaring fire, and someone else shoveling.  

 Naomi Shulman’s work has appeared in many publications including The New York Times,  The Washington Post, and Yankee Magazine, as well as on NEPR and WBUR. Follow her on Twitter: @naomishulman.