Vignettes from the Snow

Well, it's official: no school at all this week.  Add to that the extra day off on Friday and the holiday on Monday, and you have an unexpected 11-day vacation for teachers all over the tri-state area.

When something like this happens, the trappings of everyday life are dreamily suspended.  There are no deadlines, no to-do lists, no causes for anxiety.  Just simple pleasures: all weekend spent with friends and family and pets in a never-ending stretch of food and games and merciless needling.  Yesterday some friends brought their son over for a makeup  piano lesson and stayed for several hours, drinking Rob's homemade krupnik and telling stories.  Later, we walked the half-mile to the home of our new godson and his parents: the busy roads were utterly quiet and untouched, save the crunching of snow under our boots and the prints they left behind us.  We walked glove in glove down the center of the street, enjoying the feeling of doing something daring without a bit of real risk.

Our backyard is a mass of white punctuated by a blip here or there -- the compost bin, the picnic table, last year's forlorn tomato cages.  The sky is gray, the wind strong.  The tunnels we dug several days ago, from street to car to house, are almost invisible amid the four-foot drifts.  I've never seen anything like it.


We are reading good books (The Joy Luck Club, A Separate Peace) and watching bad movies (The X-Files, St. Elmo's fire) and cooking to use up all our non-Lenten delicacies.  This morning I made a cherry coffee cake with marzipan and molasses, and we drank tea out of the World's Most Beautiful Teapot, an Uzbek creation courtesy of my globetrotting friend Mary.


The thought of returning to school fills me with dread, because I know I'm going to have to make some hard choices about our plans for the semester.  Do I push them and risk mutiny and confusion?  Do I cut material and worry they'll need it later?  I don't have answers yet, but I'm not worrying about it either.  As we sit at either end of the couch, covered by a fluffy down comforter and a fluffier contented cat, listening to the howl of the storm and the gentle voices of my favorite French quartet singing Russian chant, we are pretty sure everything will be fine.