Weather Report: March 2, 2009

Southerner that I am, I don’t have the proper words for snow. Sugar snow, corn snow, powder: here in Atlanta we don’t know nothin’ about those: we just have little snow, otherwise known as dirty snow. People who actually have more than a passing acquaintance with the cold white stuff would scoff; wouldn’t even call what we get around here snow at all. But yesterday’s “storm,” which began about 11 in the morning and lasted, off-and-on, until supper time, was such a lovely one —feathery, snow-globe-upended flakes, a cold swirl-and-dance to land on the tip of the tongue, the eyelashes, superlative for packing into snow balls. It left six inches behind in places (not south of I-20, as much as we hoped it might), contained thunder; muffled the city for a bit.

Somewhere there are children who make snowmen that aren’t muddy brown and studded with bits of pine straw collected on the initial roll of ball through snow, but I’m not sure the experience they have is half as magical  as it is for a southern child, who longs for snowfall all year long, experiences it once, if at all, and never ever has to attend school once it commences, since around here flurries constitute a “winter wallop” that leaves the streets empty of people to do what they have to but full of those engaging in what they want instead (get coffee, have a late breakfast).

Yesterday we had our annual snow, and embraced it with glee, because if it’s only going to snow for six hours, it doesn’t matter too terribly much that you lack gloves (me, because I lost one a year ago and figured I could hedge my bets and go without for an entire year), have never owned a suitable scarf (both girleens) or don’t possess a waterproof winter coat (ditto). Not for us the burn-out that comes with having to scrape ice from windshields every morning for months! Not for us, the ritual of getting suited up in padded snowsuits only to have to strip them off for a last-minute bathroom trip before even getting out the door!

Today, of course, all of yesterday’s cold austere beauty has become a few scabrous patches of dirty ice left below the trees, but all the same school’s been cancelled.

 Because it’s not actually snowing anymore and there’s nothing left to play in, the Girleens are mostly just bemused, though game to stay home. But I — although looked at objectively a snow day for me now is by no means a day off — embraced the news with the same joy I did back in those old bad days when snow day meant no classes for me at the University of Georgia and  lollygagging in a bed covered with raggedy quilts in a rundown apartment until mid-afternoon when all that was required of me was leisurely afternoon stroll downtown to see who was out which coffee shops and bars were open.
In the southern locales I’ve so far lived out my life, snow is not… extraordinary, but at the same time it is so out-of-the-ordinary that it becomes so.   When it snows, the matter-of-fact dailiness of my life is dusted with magic, transformed. I see a little better; I step a little more carefully, my eyes for once on exactly where I’m going.  
I  tend toward the ambitious in terms of resolutions, can come up with a baker’s dozen, as I did a month ago, here.  
But it would be enough; to treat each day like a snow day, an unexpected party, and rejoice.
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