The potential for a Texas snow day when I was a kiddo was a sacred thing. Everyone knew about even the slightest possibility of wintry weather the night before, and I went to sleep with my fingers crossed, hoping my parents would wake me in the morning and tell me school was cancelled. And when morning inevitably came, I ate my cereal staring at the scrolling list of school closures, willing mine to appear in true Matilda mind-control form. I remember watching every name of the entire list multiple times, just to be sure I didn’t blink for a moment too long. And once or twice a year, the roads would freeze just enough to scare all of us into staying in for the day, or at least until ten when it would warm up enough to melt the ice, but leave the sloshy, frozen mess for us to have snowy/dirt-ball fights and build, let’s be honest, some very, very pathetic snowmen. But to me, those days were perfection.
My freshman year of college, we had an entire week cancelled due to what we melodramatically referred to as Snowpocalypse, a winter storm that covered the roads with ice and didn’t unfreeze for the entire week. I was living in the dorms at the time and we all spent the week watching day-long movie marathons and eating Ramen noodles. My roommate and I made a treacherous afternoon hike across the icy roads and sidewalks to a grocery store nearby, and I learned how to make snow ice-cream with condensed milk and vanilla extract.
I’m particularly clumsy in the rain, let alone the frozen kind. So when I pushed my front door open this morning, fumbling to balance my bicycle and the backpack full of books falling off my shoulder, and saw that my little stoop was covered with a thin layer of snow, I turned around and thought nah, better not. I traded my barely-warm-enough-to-be-considered-gloves for the real deal and spent an extra twenty minutes walking to work, breathing in the quiet morning.
As you may have learned from my post last week, winter and I aren’t exactly closely acquainted. I would happily live in parts of the world where winter is a season that passes quickly and shows little sign of its presence. Wintertime in Texas means the formerly green and living world blends to a dull beige, which is a lot like summer, but everything feels a little heavier. Like Oskar and his heavy boots. And I feel a little lonelier, which I hate to talk about but maybe you feel the same. And I say this because we only speak of loneliness when we’re laughing about our Netflix-watching habits, ice cream over-consumption, and late-night cigarettes. But winter is a little lonelier, and maybe Spring is like “the end of missing someone,” or if nothing else, a little more alive.
In any case, we’re not friends, winter and I. And while it was far earlier than I wanted to be awake and out of my cosy (and warm) sanctuary, the beautiful morning felt like a personal peace offering from Mr. Winter himself to this grumpy cold-weather-hating twenty-one-year-old. It felt like my own, however selfish and frivolous, and the snowy morning mostly melted away early before most of this little town was awake.
It was beautiful, and maybe even a bit magical, cliché and all. I was thankful to be reminded that while my love of winter is more of a one-morning stand with snow, it’s something that makes the tiny speck of life I get to call my own feel a little less heavy.