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©January 2000

Carol Jane Remsburg



A Snow Day at Home



Earlier in the week they forecasted flurries.  Young children and even adults were excited over the coming event.  Few of us had seen any snow for a few years now, outside of the once a year whitening of the ground that didn't even mask the grass.  Hubby remarked that it was a "Low" building off the coast and would hug a run up the coast.  His words gave me something to hope for.


Often in our neck of the woods, a snow event is something short-lived, a non-event, or something that incarcerates you within your little home sphere for a day or two.  All of us long for the latter.  It's an event.


Many of us, over the years, have discovered when "flurries" are called for at the same time a low pressure system forms off the coast that will ride up to envelope the wonder of our Delmarva, we know that we could be hit with a blizzard, a white-out, or just something we know we aren't prepared to cope with.  I think the phrase of "feast or famine" comes to light under this type of thing.  Either we get it or we get nothing.  While it doesn't occur too terribly often, when it does, we learn to cope all over again.  We get excited when it does happen, but after about 7 or 8 days of driving hell, we long for the dreary drab again.


Yesterday morning they still were calling for flurries.  I judged their call by the warning frowns of hubby's brow.  He didn't say a word, but I guessed.  By noon yesterday they nodded to a 2-4" event, and by 3 PM it became a 4-6" storm.  By late night the forecast ranged to a 5-8" call to arms.  Nearly everything in the area shut down except for non-essential personnel—which is what I'm considered.


The alarm began to blare at 5:40 AM this morning and I peeked out the window sluggishly.  The ground was covered and the forecast was forbidding.  They were calling for the high-end of the forecast—8" to 12" of snow.  What a play day this could be for my daughter.  The last time she saw such snow she was only 5.  Those memories don't linger as well as those made at 9. 


I, who will work regardless of snow, blow, or other ill weather or even illness, opted out today.  I called in and begged for release.  To my surprise, it was granted.  It was granted so quickly that I felt overwhelmed with guilt and remorse.


Still, the offset was the glee of my child who would spend most of the day frolicking in the snow.  We screamed through a dozen snowball fights and built a tilting snowman while breathing in the wonder of the quiet.  We knew we were making the memories as they happened.


We exchanged wicked smiles before the blows of packed snowed reigned about our ears.  Our cheeks pinked and our noses turned red.  We escaped back into the warmth of our waiting home for hot cinnamon buns and warm cocoa while drying out and before venturing forth again, and yet again later.


Mid-morning gave way to afternoon.  The worst was beginning to pass, but the snow still fell with heavy downy-wet flakes.  We still played on.  Armed with fresh dry socks and clothes we made snow angels and chased each other gleefully around the yard.  There were snow shampoos and snow bombs.  Laughter lived and owned every moment.  Even the dog looked at us like we were crazy.  Finally, finally, by mid-afternoon, the snow began to slacken along with our energy.  It was time to return to the indoors and learn the enjoy the view of white wonder from behind the glass.


From just after dawn, the ground was laid with feed for the anxious birds.  The titmouses, sparrows, doves, jays, and even the starlings begged for food.  By mid-afternoon our morning offerings and leftover cinnamon rolls had been devoured.  It was time to make another foray out-of-doors.


The temps had risen to a wintery warm of 35 degrees.  The snow still pelted down but finer and seemingly harsher with a sting, a transition of not quite snow but not quite sleet.  Beneath the shelter of the cedar trees was an area that wasn't totally covered by the snow.  I'd long ago forsaken my sodden socks for my kitty-cat slippers, a Christmas gift from my daughter.  Shucking them I felt not the need for protection.  I would only be outside about a minute or less to scatter the wealth of seed to our little winged friends.  Trust me, even without the cutting wind that's forecast to arrive later tonight, the fine spray of snow falling and that along with about the 7 inches that had already accumulated beneath my toes was icy-hot.  I flung gourmet birdseed hither and yon for about 2 minutes and hoped that they would feed voraciously because I wasn't about to repeat that again within a 24-hour period.  Cold hurts!


I ran back into the house and dried my tootsies off and then housed them back in the warmth of my slippers.  My candles glowed throughout the house and the soup is still simmering.  The warm bread rises.  Ah, what a day! 


We don't encounter these unexpected events often—even though we pray for them.  It's a time when life slows and becomes less surreal even though our surroundings become more so.  The errant snow day brings out the kid in all of us.  We just wish it would happen with a little more frequency to make viable our own sanity.  Yet, when we wish it to be over because our white visitor has overstayed her welcome, be gone and be it an exit of posthaste!