Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Snow day?

I love snow.  But like any true Pacific Northwester, I like snow in small doses -- enough to cause a snow day or two, but not enough to completely shut down life as we know it for weeks on end.  Unlike other places that get snow consistently, our transportation system is not equipped to deal with massive amounts of snow and so we are ridiculed by other, harsher climates for our immediate inclination to shut down and hide indoors.

I like it. Waking to a winter wonderland means working from home, baking, crafting, breathing a bit easier because it's a "free day."  A fun day.

Perhaps my feelings are merely hangers-on from when I was a teacher and just wanted a break from 14- or 15-hour days. Certainly I have more flexibility now, and there is no reason why I should feel more crafty when I see the snow (even though I do) or why food should taste better on a snow day (even though it does).  But my experience as a teacher also means that I cannot quite wish for snow days the way that I used to.  You see, when I see the snow my first inclination is to be ecstatic and wish for more...and my second is to think about all the children who go to school because it's warmer or safer than home and it's a place to get a meal.  What will those children do?  And a snow day means that people who work an hourly, minimum-wage job, like my sister, may not get the hours (and wages) they need to be able to pay bills and to eat.  What will those people do?

I can wish with all my might that this country would provide better safety nets, allowing these children and adults to live with fewer difficulties and allowing me to live with less guilt about my snow dance, but all the wishing in the world does not change the way things are right now.  And so my Guilt Monster rears its ugly head, a product of my upbringing that included a triptych of guilt, Jewish, Christian fundamentalist, and Lutheran varieties all playing games to see who wins my liberal bleeding heart this time.  I resign and stop my snow dance, my snow song, and my endless snow-wishing.

And so, Universe, you can snow if you want to.  It's pretty.  We like it.  Many kids are dancing and teachers praying for just such a midwinter's miracle.  Just please...keep it reasonable.  And keep everyone safe.

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