Tag Archives: snow

All day it snowed…

All day. I woke to five or six inches of white on the ground. Zeke’s school was delayed, and so were the home school district schools and a local university. I figured my institution would be delayed too, since it usually follows the home school district, and has done so ever since the then-new president canceled classes for 1/2 inch of snow, got into trouble, then didn’t cancel for 18 inches or the flood that followed a few weeks later! I kept waiting for the announcement that the first hour or two of classes had been canceled. I didn’t want to get up and go to work to find school was delayed or closed, so I kept an ear out in my warm comfy bed …. until I fell back asleep, and slept hard for two hours after a week of mild sleep deprivation.

When I woke, it was half an hour before my first class (conferences, actually, this week). I called a couple of colleagues to find out if I needed to go in, but got no answers. Were they in class? Or at home? There was no information ANYWHERE, about the status of my institution. All the local schools and the local university were delayed by two hours, so it made sense that my place of work would be too, but making sense and reality are not the same things where I work.

After 20 minutes, a colleague called back to tell me that, “Yes, classes are in session.” So I had to hustle and I arrived late to find my first two conference kids waiting.

“How was your drive?” I asked them.

“My little Honda slid all over the freeway,” one of them said. His words threw me back 16 years to the time I walked into a meeting on a dismally dark October day, and left an hour later to find four inches of snow on the ground. It was my first term at the college. It was my birthday. And I had a 35-mile drive home. It took me almost three hours, and I walked in the front door to tell my then-husband, “We’re moving!” My rear-wheel drive Toyota Starlet with the 3/4 bald graduate students tires had skated home like roller-blades on an ice rink. One guy in a 4X pick up tailgated me till he got tired of my slow speed and then zoomed past on the median of the freeway. Two miles later I saw his truck upside down in the median, and him standing by it, looking cold. I could hear sirens in the distance, heading to his truck perhaps, or to one of the other multiple accidents that littered that freeway that day.

Today I have a four-wheel drive car with top-of-the-line tires for my frequent drives over the mountain pass to my dad’s house. The anti-lock brakes kick on at the slightest sign of a skid, and the beast plows through six inches of snow as though it’s on a summer road. Still, I’m cautious. And when I hear my students talk of their hair-raising drives in their little cars with bald tires, of skidding into the ditch or fishtailing across intersections and praying that no one is coming,  I remember those days. “Don’t risk an accident trying to get to class on a day like today,” I tell them. “It’s not worth it.”

The snow has slowed down, and the temperature has lifted a little. Maybe tomorrow will be clear. But I’d prefer that it snows all night and we wake to five feet and wind-created snow sculptures like I did in Ireland in the winter of 1982. It’s unlikely, but I long for it anyway.

It snowded…it snowded!

When Zeke was 20 months old or so, we woke to a white world. She ran outside, crying out, “It snowded, it snowded.” She wanted to stay home from daycare and play in the snow, and although I was overwhelmed with papers at work and hated canceling classes, I decided the occasion of her first big snow was worth celebrating. We made snow people and threw snow balls and rolled around in the wild white world till we froze, and then we drank hot chocolate with marshmallows in it while our hands and feet fizzed back to life.

Today she doesn’t remember. She’s a finicky teenager who says, “yuuk,” when she sees the frosty light of a snowy day. She’s girly, not the tomboy of her earlier years. Something switched in her a few years ago, the thing that happens when you’re growing up and trying not to be like your mother, I suppose. My mother liked looking good and wearing the right clothes, while I fought her attempts to tame my wild hair and polish me up. Now Zeke, the incorrigible tomboy, has to have perfect nails, wear carefully chosen clothes, and spend an hour a day straightening the wild mass of hair she inherited from me.

When she was tiny, though, still young enough to love snow days for the pure joy of playing in the snow, she gave a hint at what she would grow into. I remember her, way back when she was two or three, picking out her clothes every night before “school.” It wasn’t a habit I taught her, or even suggested. It was just what she started doing one evening. I was getting her ready for bed, and she dragged a bunch of clothes out of her drawers and arranged them on the floor. She tried three or four different combinations of tops and bottoms before settling on the outfit she wanted (at the time a rather wild mixture that my mother would not have approved of). From then on, her evening routine included picking out her clothes and arranging them on the floor, so that one might be forgiven for thinking, in the dim glow of her nightlight, that a flat little person was lying on the floor. Sometimes her choices were interesting, but woe betide anyone who suggested she wear something different than what she had chosen. Even as a tiny child, her strong personality and absolute determination were obvious.

“That kind of personality is hard for you now,” her pediatrician told me. “But it’s good later on. Nobody’ll be able to convince her to do what she doesn’t want to do. And that includes drugs and drinking, if she’s set against it.”

Zeke has no interest in drugs or drinking, and she resists peer pressure, just as her long-ago doctor predicted. She still chooses her clothes and arranges them on the floor the night before school. And today, when she saw the world covered in white, she said rather nostalgically: “Maybe they’ll cancel school tomorrow and I can go play in the snow.”

I hope so. If she plays, I’ll play too.