Well, it is officially winter here in our nation’s capital. Here in northern Virginia, we had our first measurable snowfall last week (a full inch – I’ll wait for those of you reading this in the Midwest to pick your jaws up from the floor). This was, of course, accompanied by hysterical weather forecasters warning of the impending end of civilization, and the brave citizenry buying out local supermarkets of bread, water, beer, and other staples of life. (I have often joked that if terrorists wanted to shut down our nation’s capital, they should forget about their nuclear weapons programs and instead divert their time and resources to finding a way to make it snow on command. We’d be speaking Korean or Farsi in Washington by the end of the year.)
There was once a time when the the mention of snow didn’t inspire thoughts of dread and doom. Instead, a forecast of snow brought with it the promise of new adventures.
Such were the heady days of junior high. Creativity flourished and the usual daily responsibilities were postponed upon hearing the most beautiful two words of the English language: “Snow day.”
So it was for a certain redheaded eighth grader growing up in southwestern Ohio. The promise of multiple inches of snow had come to fruition, and I was lying in bed, listening to my radio, waiting to hear my school’s name among the litany of closings. Finally, the announcement I longed to hear: “Tri-County Christian Schools, closed.”
A moment earlier, I was too tired to budge from my nice warm bed. Now, with a renewed vigor that can come only from the promise of a day without school, I jumped from the covers and pulled open the blinds, revealing a winter wonderland, softly illuminated by the slow-rising sun.
The mind raced with possibilities. Was today a day to trek down to the park to try out our new sleds? Perhaps my brothers and I could organize a massive snowball fight for all the kids in the neighborhood. Would the local pond be frozen enough for a good game of broomball? The menu was limited only by the imagination.
I looked out my second-story bedroom window, which overlooked an attached one-story garage. A pristine blanket of new-fallen snow covered the roof of the garage. The wind had caused some gentle drifting, creating a varying topography of hills and valleys across the expanse. Looking back at it, the image seems quite beautiful.
But this is not how the mind of a 14-year-old boy thinks.