Everyone’s taking a “snow day” today in my little corner of the universe. It’s cold and wet outside. The wind is blowing enough that I can hear a little bit of a howl as it whooshes past the corner of my house. The snow has stacked up nicely in big, gloppy piles in the yard and on our deck. And the flakes keep on coming. Sometimes, a bit less … Sometimes a bit more … But always falling down toward earth with a delicate drift as they ride the wind, first in one direction and, then, in another.
I like snow. So much so that, if I was still in elementary school, I might even go so far as to say I “like like” it. Anyone who’s ever been an elementary-aged school kid knows that’s pretty serious business. Every year, I look forward to each and every chance of snow, holding my breath and hoping with every forecast. And, when snow finally comes, I enjoy every moment of it. I grew up in the Texas Hill Country, and we hardly ever had snow. All the way into adulthood — until I moved to Virginia — I had seen snow, maybe, three times. As a result, I’ve never lost that little-kid feeling of awe over the whole thing. It’s still magical to me, and it takes me back, every single time, to the little kid who lives somewhere deep inside of me and has never managed to grow up. I might feel differently if we had to deal with mountains and mountains of snow for months at a time. But we don’t, so I feel I can give into my giddily childish joy with a clear conscience.
There’s something calming and peaceful about being inside on a snowy day. I love to stand by the window, feeling cozy and warm, and watch the snow fall. It’s so quiet, but not the type of quiet caused by the absence of sound. It’s more that the whole world — all the noise and bustle we’re used to seeing on a daily basis — has been shushed for the time being. Occasionally, I will hear the swish-swish of tires against the wet street, but, mostly, there’s a sense that the whole world has, like me, hunkered down to wait for “real life” to resume. It’s liberating. To stand there — with nowhere particular to go, knowing that all plans have been cancelled for the time being, realizing that nothing “has” to get done right now — is sweet and beautiful. This must be freedom, in its purest sense.
I love how snow, for all its beauty and delicate silence, is also relentless. It is determined. It covers everything in its wake, transforming the ordinary into something more. Trees and rocks and cars become fantastical shapes that ignite the imagination: Is there a unicorn over there, prancing across the snowy driveway? Oh no … That’s silly. Perhaps it’s a dragon, instead. Even the ugly parts of my back yard, muddied since the beginning of winter, disappear beneath this magical, white blanket. For a short time, everything is beautiful and new — a pleasure to gaze upon, instead of a reminder of tasks left undone.
Once upon a time, when I was a little girl, someone told me raindrops were the angels’ tears. I never really thought about it. I was a kid, after all. And it made sense, especially at funerals, where everyone around me was sad. This morning, though, I thought about that for the first time in many years. And I wondered: If raindrops are tears, what are snowflakes? Maybe, they are more like angel-kisses — little bits of delicately beautiful love blown down from Heaven to remind us that the ordinary is special, too. There is beauty and wonder all around us, if we just take a moment to stop and see it. And, sometimes, it’s okay to step back and take a breather: one, glorious snow day on which you have nowhere you need to be and nothing, in particular, to do.