I woke before dawn to hear howling wind pelting the house with icy sleet. I peered outside at swirling sheets of white snow, whipped into a frenzy by the fierce wind.
In the streetlight's muted glow, I saw that snow had erased familiar landmarks; the birdbath, small shrubs, and the doghousewere all buried. A phalanx of snowplows rumbled into view, spraying fountains of snow onto the stone wall, spewing sparks as blades rasped the pavement.
Shivering in the chill, I blew on the window and wrote my name in the fog, dotting the "i" with a heart. I erased it with my palm, blew again, and made a smiley face. This I left on the window. I clicked on the TV and stood impatiently as closed-school lists scrolled across the bottom of the screen. There it was: my school.
"Yes!" I whispered, "Yes!" Smiling, I headed back to bed. I pictured my students snuggled in bed for another hour or two, cheered by a parent's soft whisper, "No school today, Honey. Go back to sleep." I had said the same to my 17-year-old who would sleep past noon if I let him. Maybe I would.
Then I tripped over my bulging book bag, overflowing with tests and book reports to be corrected. I told myself I had too much to do to waste the day in bed.
I detoured to the kitchen, made a pot of coffee, and hunkered down with red pen and book reports. My fifth-graders would have a test tomorrow. Somehow I couldn't picture them studying. I wondered if they would read a bit of the new mystery book I had assigned.
By midmorning, with papers corrected, I listed chores for the day: clean refrigerator, change sheets, catch up on ironing, pay bills, balance the checking account.... My energy lagged.
The wind had slowed, and a pale sun apologized for the weather. Laughing voices drew me to the window. Children were sledding down the hill across the street. They were sliding so fast they resembled streaks of a rainbow as their scarves blew behind. I could see puffs of steamy breath as they laughed. Clearly they weren't reading or studying.
But they weren't wasting this gift of a day. A day to enjoy was rare. I dressed for a walk and made one more plan. Tomorrow I'd take the class out to build a snowman. Their test could wait one more day.