Winter Rant

I remember cold blizzard nights spent with pajamas worn inside out and spoons carefully placed under my pillow. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’ve clearly never had a snow day. This was more than just a superstition. It was a way of life. And it worked every time. If for some wild reason I woke up in the morning to discover that school was still open, the reason was clear: it wasn’t the ritual at fault, some dumb kid obviously forgot to put a spoon under his pillow.

Snow days used to be the best part of winter. I loved waking up at dawn and watching the snowflakes fall, each building onto the tidal wave of white pushing up against the outer-walls of my house. My mom would bundle me in layers of clothing, yank the sliding door open and set me free to spend the day exploring the new world that used to be my backyard. I used to build forts, pack snowballs, and dig sled routes for hours. When my toes began to go numb, I would retire to the fireplace to let my body thaw, a cup of hot chocolate waiting for me. Life was easy, and snow was my friend. I wish I could say the same today.

Flash forward ten years: I’ve moved to Michigan, where snow looks more like swamps of grey slush, and the wind hurls hail into my face as I walk to class. Upon hearing my morning alarm, I don’t rush to the window in hopes that an overnight storm has painted my yard white. Rather, I moan at the sight of frozen mush on the sidewalks and streets. This may sound like a testament to my changed character. It may sound like I’m just no longer the vivacious kid I used to be. Yet, I still recognize snow for its beauty- just not when I’m hopscotching around piles of slush and patches of black ice. One day I’ll fully rekindle my relationship with snow. After all, it’s nearly impossible to resist a good snowball fight. But for now, you won’t be finding any spoons under my pillow.

3 thoughts to “Winter Rant”

  1. Inside-out pajamas and spoons, huh? In my high school, we had different superstitions.
    For us, we had one old history teacher that we joked could teach us about history since he’d already seen most of it. However, he was an excellent educator, and he was devoted to his work. But you don’t teach for that long without a few legends popping up around you.
    The story goes that if this teacher bought a fishing lure, we would get a snow day the next day. What’s more, he would put the fishing lure on the chalkboard to show us that he had indeed controlled the weather. Of course, this led to students offering to help him buy lots of fishing lures, and one time, an entire boat. (The logic went that since the boat was huge, we’d get a week of snow days.)
    I’d never considered it before, but different schools would have different methods of getting snow days, wouldn’t they? I’m not sure anyone is going to do a study called “Children’s Tricks to Summon Snow Days,” but it’s interesting to hear this story.
    (I can relate to you on the snow itself, too. Nice to look at, not fun to walk in.)

  2. First and foremost: love the picture! it takes me back to my childhood days of boredom, awaiting for December to hit, because of droughts when not being able to touch a snowflake. That was, until I saw this amazing movie and fantasized on the many things I could do if we ever did have a real snow day. Of course, in Michigan, there needs to be some severe warning for the elementary and middle schools to be closed. More than a few inches perhaps? But living in Georgia for most of my elementary school days, my uncle and I (we’re the same age) were overwhelmed whenever a 2inch report would cause all businesses, schools, and transportation services to shut down because it was “too hectic” to go outdoors. Imagine that: coming from Michigan where snow is Winter’s outcall, to exploring Georgia’s idea of a bad Winter that hits a low 60 degrees. I do admit that I missed snow so much during those days. I loved the Winters that we’d go back to Michigan to spend time with my family during Christmas and winter break. I missed the snow.

    However, now being back all these years (since middle school) has really changed my perception, similar to yours. I no longer jump and shout with excitement when I see snow covering the concrete and trees, but rather cringe at the thought of looking out my window because of never knowing what to expect now-a-days with Michigan. I can walk outside tomorrow and its raining sunflower seeds and not one person would be too surprised. It happened this morning actually (not the sunflower seeds, but the snow call): I pulled myself together to get out of bed, dragged my feet to the window to close it from the cool air seeping into my bedroom, and dropped my head low when I saw that the snow had overtaken my entire apartment complex, including my car Sheela. You think walking in snow is treacherous; imagine driving in it.

  3. My relationship with snow is a lot like your, Linda. Growing up in Philadelphia, we typically had two big storms a winter. The radio stations would start talking about the Nor’easter days before it was scheduled to arrive. Grocery stores would be packed in the days leading up to the storm, and hardware stores would sell out of salt. Once the preparations were complete, everyone would stare out the window, a wait. Eventually huge wet flakes would fall from thick gray clouds, and wouldn’t stop until about 2 feet of fresh snow blanketed the ground.

    We don’t get storms like these in Michigan. At least we haven’t since I came to college here in 2010. I recently challenged a michigander friend of my to a bet. I was sure that we got more snow in Philadelphia than in Michigan. After all, I’ve never seen the same heaping piles of snow that I grew up with in Philadelphia here in Michigan. But needless to say, I was wrong. It snows a lot more here in Michigan. It just doesn’t pile down all in one day, in a sound-the-alarm-it’s-the-end-of-the-world-run-to-the-grocery-store kind of way. It just snows a little bit of gray, pathetic, slush, ever single day.

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