Sort of Snow Day

My dad always said that in his lifetime at school, both as a kid and later as a teacher for around thirty years, one thing that never got old was the excitement of the snow day, and I must admit, I agree with him. Most adults with typical adult jobs don’t get to enjoy snow days, but I was always appreciative that the library followed the local school’s lead in determining whether to close for the weather. I “work” from home now though, so I can’t decide if that means every day is a snow day or no day is a snow day, but sometimes the weather can’t decide if it’s a snow day or not either, so at least I’m not alone.

We had snow yesterday. The forecast was, as is often the case, very iffy on what would actually happen, ranging from “no snow, just cold-ish, but definitely liquid rain” to “probably a foot of snow, and it’ll be so heavy it’ll collapse your roof.” It did in fact snow, but it was a pretty warm snow, so rather than waking up to a fluffy white world of wonderment and tranquility, we woke up to sloppy slush that began melting before the sun even came up. It didn’t stick to the roads or sidewalks at all, which is good for emergency services, but bad for those of us looking for a good excuse to stay at home with a cup of cocoa and a book, and even on the deck accumulated to only about an inch.

I was really hoping to wake up and capture some excellent video of Pippin bounding through six or eight inches of snow to share here, because he loves the snow even more than I do. The DNA test we did when he was little said he had Great Pyrenees and Saint Bernard in him. The Great Pyrenees is pretty apparent, but it’s easier to doubt the Saint Bernard. He’s big but not massive; he drools but not constantly; he doesn’t have the squished nose or floppy jowls we’re familiar with. But then it snows and his first instinct is to poke his face into the deepest drift he can find to see if there’s anything good underneath and he just comes alive. This wasn’t that kind of snow though, and even Pippin went outside, nosed the snow and looked at me with confusion: “Why’s it so wet, Mom? This snow is broken.”

It wasn’t all bad, though. Even a little bit of snow is enough to make our normal walk feel a little bit more adventurous, albeit the kind of adventure where we’re dodging large, wet clumps melting out of the trees. Just a dusting is enough to illuminate some of the secret scent trails that steal Pippin’s concentration, revealing the cat, squirrel, and dog tracks that he smells so keenly all the time.

An abandoned house on our route was one such scene of enlightenment this time. Pippin always sniffs the fence intently, and sometimes the storm drain at the curb as well. Yesterday, the snow revealed that the inhabitants of the house (and the storm drain) are trash pandas raccoons, leaving their little handprint tracks from the storm drain, up the sidewalk and around the side of the house to one of several broken windows.

I also noticed a weird phenomenon that I hadn’t seen before: on several traffic light poles, the snow was only stuck on the bottom of the bar. I didn’t get a very good picture of it because by the time I first realized why it looked weird, the light had turned green again and we were driving. The other instances I saw either had far less snow or I was farther back in the line of traffic. This is the best I could do while stopped at a light. I can only hypothesize that the temperature and consistency of the snow were just right so that the snow slipped off the top and sides of the bar, but wasn’t heavy enough to break the surface tension of the water underneath (now above?) and fall. Is surface tension right? It doesn’t seem quite right, but it’s close… Anyway it was either that or it was a really weird snow that didn’t quite understand how gravity was supposed to work and fell in whatever direction it pleased.

The snow is nearly gone now, just in time for the temperature to drop and freeze the remaining puddles into solid sheets of ice. But it’s only January, so we might get a little more snow before winter is finished. Pippin says he sure hopes so, anyway.

2 thoughts on “Sort of Snow Day

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  1. Oh, Pippin! I hope he gets some good snow to play in this winter. He needs his fun!

    I saw on FB that a teacher challenged her students to go out and make a snowman and submit the pic to her. She was going to have others vote for the best one, but they were all so cute she withdrew the contest. Her school did remote learning yesterday bc of the forecast and this turned out to be PE, Art, and recess combined. It looked like the kids really enjoyed the “assignment”.

    1. What a great idea! That way the kids still get some fun, even though remote learning has made the traditional snow day defunct. I love it!

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