This just in from Providence: Snow Days are excellent for reading and grading essays and armchairs and coffee and braiding and re-braiding my hair. I’m a teacher, and we’re nearing the end of the quarter, so I’m working from home today— should I take a selfie with my stack of papers to grade? I’m also taking time to myself to rest and renew and light candles.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “snowflakes dancing,” but have you thought about what this actually looks like? I was sitting cross-legged on my bed this morning and staring out the window, and I realized that the way snowflakes dance is not individualistic — sure, they bounce around and they’re cute, but the dancing part is more than that. As the wind changes direction, the snowflakes all swerve in unison, moving with a rhythm that is collective and graceful and known only to them and the gusts of winter wind. It reminded me of contra-dancing, which I learned way back in Virginia. A caller shouts out directions, and the group all changes direction or switches hands or swaps partners in parallel motion. It’s a dance you have to do with a bunch of laughing, jolly people, and it happens either in a big circle or in lines like the Virginia Reel. Snowflakes move like that, in packs. But there’s no caller telling them which way to waltz. Or maybe there is.
Maybe that’s what snowstorms are for: a reminder that there are forces bigger and more destructive or generative than us. Maybe we should take more time to marvel at that.