In honor of the snow blizzard expected in Iowa on Thursday, here is a reprint of an original column that I wrote for Dec. 9, 2009. Enjoy!
“Carpe diem.” – Horace
Wake up. Giddy excitement. Underneath the piles upon piles of blankets. And you wait. Eventually, someone would lumber up the steps to be the bearer of news (hopefully good). And every once and awhile it came — a snow day.
The possibilities were endless. Sleep in? No, too wound up. Would there be an Indiana Jones marathon? Or perhaps outdoors I would venture, for a neighborhood snowball fight. Maybe I’d help Mom make some cookies or perhaps I would read another of my Sweet Valley Twins books.
Sure, I might have to shovel some sidewalks and there might be chores, and, sigh, there might be a make-up day at the end of the year. But it was worth it. For the pure delirious sensation that resulted from a normal, everyday kind of day, which was in fact not.
It was instead an awesome day.
My neighborhood would bustle with kids waiting to experience the day with one another. To spread our fervor with a frenzied commotion. Usually an igloo was started and soon forgotten. The boys would start a snowball fight. We’d end up with wet hair, bodies sweaty throughout our snow suits as we grappled with the white stuff through our enormous gloves. It usually ended with either me or my cousin Elizabeth getting smacked in the face with a snowball. The hot tears would smatter across our faces while we ran back into the house.
Although the hours passed by quickly, as hot chocolate-stained sweatshirts and the bleeps of a Super Nintendo game ensued, the day seemed to last forever. No thoughts were given to the following school day. Life was good and we knew it.
So why does the idea of a bit of snow, or a lot, or maybe epic proportions of snow freak us adults out? Fine, there are accidents. And yes, most jobs don’t accept the snow day excuse. And the shoveling. The snow blowing. The streets. And the kids … and the …
It’s hard to remember that gleam of hope one would get at the thought of a few inches of snow. Instead snow brings painful thoughts of sore backs and numbing weather.
So as we fight the crowds at the grocery store, or while we wait for our cars to start and get warm, perhaps we should try to carry that little piece of snow-day-childhood with us. To remember what the snow used to be about. Not an excuse to complain. Nor another topic to vent our frustrations through.
But instead as a piece of wonderment. The day we kids could declare our Independence Day. Nay to pencils and papers and calculators. Hello to muddy snow pants, boots and a day of complete enchantment.
For Peter Pan said, “Forget them, Wendy. Forget them all. Come with me where you’ll never, never have to worry about grown up things again.”
And Wendy replied, “Never is an awfully long time.”
Let us, at least for a moment, live as Peter Pan does and forget that we have real lives and responsibilities. Take a whiff of the cold air, taste a snowflake and live like you once did before.