When I decided to leave my career in software development to teach English, I knew that my thorough planning for the switch could never prepare me for everything I would encounter in my new vocation.
Some of these unexpected experiences have been arduous and challenging. Some have been exhilarating and profoundly gratifying. Some seem simply absurd.
In that last category, I place "rediscovering snow days."
Mind you, the beauty of re-encountering snow days in my mid-thirties doesn't derive from merely missing work; sloth has never been my sin of choice. When my cell phone shudders awake on the bedstand and the local TV station's missive shimmers with the good news, I immediately jump out of bed. I inevitably spend the morning grading or making lesson plans, relishing the completion of these tasks in serenity, outside the pandemonium of the school day.
In any case, we teachers work very long hours, but we get plenty of time off during the year.
No, the absurdity and beauty I've discovered in the snow day come from re-connecting with this experience I had presumed I'd left behind. Like a sort of meteorological prodigal son, I abandoned the delight of having the elements dictate my daily work, and now I have recaptured that sublime joy.
(OK, perhaps too far.)
Regardless, things that are great about Snow Days:
Standing transfixed in her closet, trying to determine what to wear, my wife used to ask me about the forecast, and I never had the slightest idea. I worked in a climate-controlled environment that never closed and therefore wholeheartedly ignored the weather.
Now, between December 1 and March 1, I can tell her the barometric pressure in inches of Mercury and hectoPascals. I scrutinize the subtle shifts in time stamps of Doppler radar like Jim Garrison pored over the frames of the Zapruder film. I could stand in for local meteorologists if the situation ever arose.
Not working and feeling great:
When most people have an unplanned absence from work, either illness or bereavement is the cause. Both are physically and mentally taxing, and that fatigue is exacerbated by your knowledge of the work piling up while you are gone.
Not so for the snow day. The weather did something unusual, so you don't have to work. You may feel great. If the roads clear up, you may go out and see a movie. If you see your boss there, that's fine too. He or she is also feeling great.
Playing in the snow:
My back yard spills down into a valley and is obscured from the neighbors, so I can frolic to my heart's content or my back gives out. And since my dog Scout (pictured) is so adept at making a canine version of snow angels, it's only right she should be afforded the opportunity.
Sure, it takes about 20 minutes to remove all the caked-on snow and get her dry, but what do I care? It's a snow day.