I loved snow days growing up. Those unexpected holidays in the midst of the long gray months between Christmas and spring. At night I’d pay close attention to the weather report. I had a girlish crush on Sam Champion, the tanned, broad-shouldered local weatherman on Channel 4, and when the words “nor’easter” or “cold front” escaped from his lips, it was all I could do to keep from kissing the television screen.
Those were always sleepless nights. I’d slip out of bed every couple hours to check the progress of the snow accumulation on nearby rooftops, wondering whether it would be just enough for them to cancel school. Leaning against the radiator below my window, I’d press the tip of my nose against the cold glass panes and watch as the falling flakes danced and floated in the moonlight before gently settling down on our driveway.
The calls always came in early—just shortly before 6am—and without even waiting for my mom to tell me that classes had been cancelled, I’d shut off my alarm and finally settle into the deep sleep that had escaped me all night.
I loved the lazy mornings. My brother and I would wander down to the kitchen around noon, and pour ourselves bowls of sugary cereal. We’d bundle up in layers and tumble off the back porch into the snowdrifts that had piled on our lawn. After a couple hours of rolling about in the snow, we’d drag ourselves back in and drop our soggy clothing into a pile in the bathroom. The rest of the day was generally spent napping, watching cartoons, and sipping microwavable hot chocolate.
My dad usually had to go to work these days, and Gab and I would watch as he grumbled and braced himself for the bitter cold. He would blast 1010 WINS, the NY radio station, and try to determine the best route to his office.
“But it’s snowing!” My brother and I would protest as my dad kissed us good-bye, not understanding why he couldn’t stay home and play too.
What I think that I loved about these days was they way that they seemed to freeze time—if only momentarily. Work, school, practices—nearly everything was suspended by the snowy blanket. The cars stayed off the roads and most of the stores were closed. Life was quiet, and play seemed to be the only order of the day.
Yesterday they were predicting an awful storm for the area. Before leaving work, I received an e-mail announcing that if the storm took hold, we would be able to work from home at our discretion. For the first time in a long time, I felt that feeling of childish anticipation. Unlike most adults, who were praying that the storm would bypass New York and make the commute easier, I hoped that I’d wake to find piles of impenetrable precipitation on the ground.
Last night, just before getting into bed, I found myself as I’d done so many years ago—nose up against the glass, my breath fogging circles on the window panes, watching for the snowflakes, and praying for the unexpected break that only nature can bring.