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Jessie Veeder, Published December 07 2013

Coming Home: Taking time to enjoy a snow day

To honor the first week of December, Mother Nature opened up the sky and let loose a bazillion-trillion tiny snowflakes that made their way down to the frozen earth, pushing through the trees and across the road – cars stuck, trucks chained up, roads blocked and events cancelled – reminding us that this winter party has just begun.

I love a good snow day.

I love waking up the morning after the warnings on TV and radio and pressing my face to the window to see if the weatherman’s a liar. I love pouring my coffee in a big mug and staying in my slippers, knowing nobody expects me anywhere.

I love gauging the height of the drifts and waiting until the last flake falls before I bundle up and get out my shovel. I love my wool socks. I love the card games we play and the movies we watch because there is nothing else to do. But most of all I love that snow days remind us (because we all need reminding) that sometimes we just need to pack it up and call it a day.

Some things are out of our control.

When we were kids there was nothing better. Snow days meant imagination stretched to the furthest extent, pent up energy from hours behind desks and indoors released onto the cold, white world in screams of glee and snowball fights. Snow days meant no school and the entire day spent in our snowsuits, searching for the best and biggest hill to fly down, building and destroying snow forts and digging tunnels in the banks Dad’s tractor made along the roads.

A day like this meant scarves and makeshift sleds and hot cocoa and the reason God invented little brothers and sisters.

And when we had exhausted all of our snow-game resources, when our cheeks were rosy and frozen against the cold, our mittens crusted with ice as the sun began sinking over the horizon, turning the landscape a little more blue than white, we would walk off into a spot in the yard or on the playground where we had yet to make tracks and plop down on our backs.

And we were quiet for a moment as we stared up at the evening sky and watched our breath make smoke-like puffs into the crisp air.

We were quiet as we lived within this childhood right, basked in the simplicity we were not yet old enough to appreciate, and then, before the cold soaked through our fluffy coats, we moved our arms back and forth, our legs followed and we sunk our heads into the fluff just to be sure we made our mark on a world that was too big for us to conquer any other way.

With that we popped up off of the ground and stood, with hands on our hips taking a brief moment to see what our little bodies looked like with wings.

Then we flew away to the next adventure and soon the snow of the season turned to water and the water filled the creeks and we turned another year older. Another winter passed and another and before we knew it the snow days that once filled us with anticipation turned to cussing at the weather report for halting deadlines and creating obstacles that stood in the way of progress and timing.

And so we sigh in the face of a day wasted, reminded that, like time passing and the changes of weather, there are some things we cannot control.

But there are things we can.

Like how we spend a day given to us free and clear by nature herself.

So I bundled up. I found my scarf and my fuzzy boots, my wool beanie and my mittens and I shuffled out in the flakes and freezing to the clear spot on the dam where only a few turkeys made their marks across the flat.

I plopped down, face up to the sky dropping frozen flakes on my cheeks and I closed my eyes, moved my arms and legs, in and out, swish, swish, swish …

Because it’s been a long time since I’ve seen what I look like with wings.


Jessie Veeder is a musician and writer living with her husband on a ranch near Watford City, N.D. Readers can reach her at jessieveeder@gmail.com.