I find it eerily peaceful to watch a beautiful snowfall, even when I know that the end result will be that I trudge through the eventually dirty stuff, feet cold and wet, weighed down with layers and layers of clothing, or worse, that I slide around in a car on slick streets because I need to get where I need to be. This past snow has been reminiscent of the first huge snowfall last February, which I remember well because I had been home from Afghanistan for just a few days.
I remember being almost joyful as I listened to the weather report, thinking that I would have a “snow day” and would get to do what I missed most of all while I was away: spend a quiet evening with my husband in front of a fire in our fireplace, drinking a glass of wine and talking over the day. As it turned out, however, our two snow days were spent at the President Hotel in Kansas City, where Max attended the winter meeting of the Missouri Bar Board of Governors, and I reconnected with people I hadn’t seen in a while.
Then, of course, later on that month, we did enjoy another snow day or two just as I had imagined we would — fire roaring, Max and I laughing and talking, and also watching my newest discovery, “Homeland.” One of my friends in Kabul, who is originally from Chicago but now lives in Croatia, gave me the DVD and told me that “Homeland” is a most intriguing show — and the plot involves Iraq and Afghanistan. He was right about the intrigue. Max and I binge watched the whole first season, hooked on the twisty plot line and shady characters, while the snow came down and stayed long enough to keep us in the house for an entire 36 hours or so. What a great winter vacation!
And a year later, here we are again, in the midst of yet another great winter vacation, pantry and freezer full, firewood on the back porch, and a new television series to binge watch — “House of Cards.” Things couldn’t get much better — at least for 48 hours or so. My class at SFCC was canceled on Tuesday, and I couldn’t imagine people getting out and driving on slick roads in frigid temperatures on Wednesday, and so I canceled court and choir practice.
As a result, I had the luxury of staying in and watching the snow from afar, sitting at my desk, looking out the window and watching energetic, resourceful kids walk up and down the street with shovels over their shoulders, hoping to hit the jackpot by clearing snow from people’s sidewalks and driveways. I was happy to oblige them. From my vantage point in my home office, the world was good — the sidewalk was being cleared by someone else, I was snug as a bug, warm, and though not in someplace lovely such as Sanibel Island, on a winter vacation.
I know, however, that all good things — and winter vacations — must come to an end. Tomorrow, I will return to real life. I will teach my class, hoping that all my students — and I — will be able to make it to school safely, and I will do all the mundane things that our day-to-day lives require. Those mundane things, though, are the things I missed when I was away, and I have not yet gotten to the point where I take them for granted again. I still remember my lesson that real life here is pretty wonderful, but this week, I have also learned new lessons: winter vacations don’t have to take place in warmer climates, and sometimes, real life and vacations are one and the same.