Today was a snow day. Flakes pouring down, rushing down,
pounding down endlessly, from the early morning when I climbed out of a warm
bed to shuffle to the bathroom in the dark, sodium-yellow in the street lights,
all through the day, white-gray and glittering. A big storm, the television
kept telling us, as if we could not peer through the blinds and see, then
shiver, and draw them closed, and pull the afghan up higher and snuggle down
Everything is closed, and everything will still be closed tomorrow,
because it’s not going to stop snowing, not ever. It will rise up over the roof
and pile up against the chimneys and then all the valleys between the houses
will fill up, driveways will disappear and sidewalks will vanish and trees will
be swallowed. With a heavy gust of wind, the mounds will collapse and cover the
mountains, and then Utah will be
an entirely flat and featureless plain, and the ice age will have come again,
but we will be fine as long as we have got cable, and bread, and each other. In
case the bread runs out.
"You wanted snow," E. whispered this morning.
"You ever hear the phrase, ‘Be careful what you wish for?’" My house
is only three blocks away, but my boots had heels, and the bed was
warm, and all the cars could be stuck in the driveway, for all I cared. We had
leftover pizza, and episodes of Heroes
to watch, and a pile of 100 lb. dogs who think they are lapdogs and who steal
There were things to do, and places to go, but we were
snowed in, and there is a glorious, beautiful luxuriousness to that state.
There is nothing you can do about it, because that is an act of nature and who
can fight nature? Not you, puny human. You are in a forced state of inertia,
but it’s lovelier than that–it feels like a gift, and it feels like stolen
time, and it feels like anything at all that you do is completely perfect and
apropos, because what else are you going to do?
The closest I’ve come to this feeling in the past ten years
has been the rare rain day–not the kind with the drizzle and the damp, which is
pretty much how it goes, over the course of a San Francisco winter. The kind of
day when the sky drops to just above your head and then explodes and it is a
sheet, a blanket, a king-sized down comforter of water plummeting down and the
wind is lashing and the clouds are so low you can touch them and the light has
that luminescent, too-lucid silvery quality, as if the world is being shot in
high definition and back-lit flatteringly, and the day feels special, out of
the ordinary, like a holiday.
But of course, it is just rain, and you are supposed to put
on a hat and open up an umbrella and go out in it and then bitch when you are
wet up to your waist and from the top of your head down and you will never get
warm and dry and what the hell is this weather,
anyway? Sure, we need the rain, but god. But
all you wanted to do was curl up on the couch with a blanket and some hot
something and feel that everything was right with the world, if only because
you are inside, and the wet is outside, and in that way, you win. Listen to the
sound of the pouring rain.
There were snow days, growing up in Pennsylvania,
and we never minded that a day off from school now meant an extra day tacked on
the end of the school year (that was too far away to think about). We didn’t
sleep in–we launched ourselves out of the house and into the snow, up to our
knees, our thighs, our waists, and we didn’t come back until dinner. God, we
had so much energy. There were forts and angels and snowmen and snowballs and
King of the Mountain and snow was the most wonderful, exciting best thing ever
in the history of having things. We want more, and we’ll never come inside and
maybe our snow day won’t ever stop.
It’s a snow evening, now, and maybe a small part of me
wishes for the kind of snow day that had snowball fights and that there was a
snowperson sitting in the yard. The larger part of me, which drank tea and kept
her pajamas on (mostly) and watched the snow fall, and fall, and fall, felt
like it was a pretty perfect day, which shouldn’t ever stop.