Last Thursday, as I sat in my dentist office waiting room, I thanked the receptionist for moving up my appointment. Snow was coming, and everyone wanted to get home safely. I asked her if she thought school would be cancelled on Friday. She was confident that it would be, and respond to my less than joyful expression, she asked me, "Wouldn't you keep your kids home, anyway?" I flinched internally thinking of all the work I had planned to do during those six hours of school. Didn't this woman understand that I have a bullet journal complete with my weekly agenda, goals, and so many tasks that need crossing out? She followed my non-answer with, "My Grand-daughter and I have big plans to build a snowman!"
Oh, and then I felt a certain shame of a parent choosing work over play. "And the cats in the cradle and the Silver Spoon. . ."
The snow delivered as was forecast; school was, indeed, cancelled.
Friday morning, we slept in, ate a lazy breakfast, put work aside, and pulled on all of the protective layers before heading to our hilltop. We made multiple successful passes whizzing down, walked on the frozen creek until it wasn't frozen anymore, and shook the snow off the yew trees. After getting sufficiently soaked, we headed inside for warmth, lunch, and a little bit of work, but we were back outside in the afternoon. And during this second playtime, I actually took my turn on the sled! (It has been years.) To my surprise, it was truly delightful! We pretended we were Olympic athletes practicing bobsled, luge, skeleton, and snowboarding. (The last one was just Abe. He kept trying like a virgin surfer to stand up on his sled while moving downhill). We crashed, tumbled, and mostly laughed all splayed out like snow-encrusted roadkill.
After Penelope gave up the games, Abe and I crawled under a cedar, where he showed me how he climbs it. We noticed the woodpecker holes, and I told him how I had sat in that exact spot last summer cloaked in a mosquito net, at the end of our forest bathing session. It had been an impossibly hot and muggy day, half a year ago, and I had sat there feeling his playful energy. I remembered how I ran my finger along the patterned woodpecker holes, and how I wrote a poem about needing to play more. Well, half a year and a foot of snow later, I suppose I finally took my own advice.
Snow days don't come around too often, and when they do, they should be taken as the universe demanding a play date.
We ended our snow day watching the opening ceremonies in Pyeonchang. Our favorite part was seeing the thousands of athletes parade into the stadium to celebrate, perhaps the ultimate snow days, the Winter Olympics.
Since snow days can't be planned or scheduled, try to notice an impromptu opportunity to play in the snow (while it is still here), or just watch the goddamn Olympics! A 17 year-old won gold for snowboarding, and Abraham is now obsessed with him. Also, watch out for figure skater, Bradie Tennell, she is our hometown champion coming from Carpentersville. Go Bradie!!!
Anna Lentz, artist and writer, blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.