I love snow days, and today has offered up a good one where I live. I know many of you who live north of here are sick and tired of snow, but for those of us who don’t often get snow, it’s pretty special when it happens.
My dog and I got out early this morning, and with the exception of a few cars trying to head down the road and a few other paw prints and footprints in the snow, we had the streets to ourselves.
I have always loved snow days. My dad often had to walk to work, but both he and my mom made sure snow days were special for us. My brother and I spent most of our time outside on snow days: sledding, building snowmen, having snowball fights, sledding, sledding, more sledding. Even my mom, a northern transplant herself, took some rides on the sled. It helped that we lived on the perfect hill for sledding, and I sometimes wonder how many times I’ve walked that hill dragging the Flexible Flyer behind me for the next ride.
When we came in to thaw out, she’d have soup and grilled cheese and maybe even hot chocolate waiting for us after we peeled off sopping-wet layers to dry by the fire. I even wrote my first book (when I was five) on a snow day and called it The Snowy Day. It was a picture book – because I liked to draw, too, and I was busy reading picture books at that age – and I updated it a few short years later on another snow day.
I think my inner child taps into those memories and enjoys spending time outside, alternating with trips inside to thaw out with something hot to drink and a pen in my hand.
Having a dog makes snow days even more fun. My dog especially loves to freeze her tennis ball in layers of snow, chase after it, bury it in the snow and then dig it back up with her nose or her paws. She is equal parts joy and energy on snow days.
I think this is one of my favorite pictures of her.
The colder-than-usual weather forced both of us back inside pretty quickly (she would have lingered if I had let her). It’s one thing to play in 30 degrees and snow but another entirely in 18 in wind and snow.
I went back outside later to take some more photographs. Tonight looks like it’ll be the coldest night we have had in years, and I’m hoping the snow will protect the plants. I guess I won’t know until spring which ones will survive and which won’t.
I didn’t last long on this trip outside with my camera.
When I went back inside, I curled up under a blanket with a book I’ve been reading, Isabel Allende’s memoir My Invented Country. The dog snored and dreamed of chasing her snow-encrusted tennis ball while I read for a bit and enjoyed some hot tea.
One of the most poignant parts of Allende’s book so far is her description of leaving Chile as a child, with a journal in hand to keep her company:
I wrote everything down in my notebook with the industry of a notary,
as if even then I foresaw that only writing would anchor me to reality.
… When she gave me that notebook, my mother somehow intuited
that I would have to dig up my Chilean roots, and that lacking a land
into which to sink them I would have to do that on paper. (108-109)
My parents always kept scrap paper handy, and so I can relate to Allende’s sense that writing would be an anchor for her, that paper would be where she thrived. Maybe that’s why writing is one of my anchors on snow days and why snow days remind me of my earliest days as a writer.
How about you? What do you love best about snow days?