Friday, January 14, 2011

Best. Snow Day. Ever.

I think I became a teacher because I enjoy my time off.  After all, in what other line of work do you get snow days?  We just had our first two snow days in Boston Public (Wednesday, January 12 and Thursday, January 13).  As we were just coming back from the holiday break I did not yet feel that pressing need to have time away from school.  Perhaps though it was because I was almost disgruntled about having the day off, and therefore delaying summer vacation that much longer (as I said, I likes my time off!), that it turned into one of those days that fills me with a total sense of content.  Regardless, it was great!

Running while it is snowing is, simply, one of the most sublime and enjoyable experiences I've had.  First, there are fewer people out there, so I feel hardcore (I have to feed the ego somehow!).  Second, there is a distinct stillness and quiet to everything.  Sounds are muffled, so you can almost hear the snowflakes touching the ground.  Third, it is beautiful.  Snow blankets the world with a fresh coat of paint.  So it was, with my all-American, more is better attitude, that I figured running in what was forecasted to be a blizzard would be an even greater experience.  This is why, when I got word on Tuesday afternoon that school was cancelled, I told Liz I was going for a run early in the morning, while it was still snowing hard (the heavy snowfall was slated to be out of town around 10 or 11 AM).  At this point, she is used to such proclamations, and, already geared up for a day inside with the boys, expressed little reservation beyond the standard, "You're crazy." That evening, I shut the alarm off (one of life's great pleasures when you get up at least two hours before anyone else in your house during the week), and went to sleep hoping for epic snow.

Jacoby's standard 6:30 call of "Mommy.  Mommy.  MOMMY!" woke me up.  The distinct sense of joy brought on only by the freedom of a snow day struck as we went downstairs and looked at the 12+ inches of snow that had fallen over night, with the white continuing to fall at a heavy clip.  Shortly after the boys were fed I ventured out.  My trustee (and old), semi-insulated Patagonia wind breaker, GU socks (they're a bit longer than my others), "lobster" mittens, and Mach XII shoes were my armor against wind gusts up to 50 mph, and the heavy snow.  I knew today's run would take me to my "backyard," the woods of Whipple Hill.

On this day, more snow did prove better.  I ran a mere 5 miles or so (see the Garmin file here), and was spent by the end. On the short 3/4 of a mile to Whipple Hill I could only see about 30 yards ahead of me, and the snow banks were already nearly as tall as I am.  The snow quickly covered my eyelashes, jacket, and hat.  When I reached the woods, I was running in white stuff up to my knees.  The trees were all bowing under the weight of the snow - Whipple Hill was unrecognizable, but glorious, in its winter coat.  By the time I got home (an hour and ten minutes later), my jacket and gloves had frozen solid.  If I could have felt my face (which had gone numb about twenty minutes before), I would have been smiling broadly!  It was enthralling to be out there, even if my pace was reduced to a near walk.  It was bliss.  It was humbling to be in the elements, and empowering to think that I wanted to be there.

Yet a great run unto itself would not qualify this as the "Best Snow Day Ever." No, there was more to it.  There was Jacoby asking, "So how's your run?" upon my snowy return.  There was the two hours Cooper and I spent digging tunnels in what had become close to 20" of snow.  There was the warm lunch Liz had made when we finally dragged ourselves in.  There was the smell of Clementine and eating it right when we got in - reminiscent of those snow days in Vermont when we came in from hours of play and ate tangerines (smell is powerful that way).  There was the extended reading of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets before nap time.  There was taking a nap itself.  There was the reassembly of Legos (by Liz and myself).  There was happiness.

While I am sure to regret typing these words in a few weeks, when it remains cold and what is left of the snow has turned that grotesque color of salt, sand, and oil, let me just say: Best.  Snow Day.  Ever.

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