Why, Yes, I AM a Teacher…and, Why, Yes, I LOVE Snow!

I just checked my favorite weather prediction resource, http://www.wunderground.com, and I saw the most lovely thing in the world in the forecast….


I love snow.  I LOVE SNOW!!!  Pardon me, did I yell?  Why, yes I did.  And I’ll do it again….(brace yourselves)


I am not embarrassed or ashamed or shy about the fact that I love snow.  And it actually has very little to do with being a teacher.

When I was in first grade, my family moved to Germany where we lived for roughly four years.  We were stationed in Munich which is in southern Bavaria and is (surprise) prone to snow.  Snow became the equivalent of warmth and beauty and peace for me.

These are the mountains I used to look at daily...and they are usually covered in snow.

These are the mountains I used to look at daily…and they are usually covered in snow.

Because we lived on the base, school was never cancelled.  Instead, we put on our snow pants, laced up our winter boots, and walked through knee deep snow to go to school.  It wasn’t a punishment, a rite of passage, or a test of courage and strength.  It was what we did because we had to go to school.  And school on the base was amazing because we had three (YES, YOU READ THAT RIGHT…3) recesses every day.  And on top of that, we never lost recess for missing homework or mis-behaving.  And if the weather was bad, why we’d go outside anyhow.

Remember what I said about snow pants and snow boots?  That’s because we played outside, in the snow, during recess.  In fact, there was a hill on the school’s campus and we’d go sledding during recess.  That’s right, you can now bust in jealousy because when I was a kid I went sledding during recess.  And it was allowed.

I remember coming back into my first grade classroom sopping wet (they weren’t great snow pants) and standing in front of the radiator, rocking back and forth while listening to my teacher.  I remember the absolute joy of life at that moment, learning while getting warm after playing in the snow.

Why wouldn’t I love snow?

And then, once I got home, the magic continued.  Because another hill was about a half a mile from the apartment where we lived and I had free access to go there and….you thought right…more sledding.  In Germany, I had freedom.  All the worries and fears my mother had (and she has plenty…that’s another blog for another day) were suspended and I was given the ability to go where I wanted, when I wanted, so long as I could hear the bell she would ring that was my signal to come home.  I could hear the bell from the hill.  The hill was in my territory.

At night, I found a memory that I still, to this day, treasure and invoke whenever I think of snow.  Sadly, I don’t get to re-experience it as often as I would like.  Not because my memory is dim, but because I don’t have the right location…(word escapes me at this moment).

Our apartment was the furthest from the parking lot which was illuminated by street lights at night.  When the snow would fall, I used to stand next to the radiator (notice the warmth again), lean against the window, and watch the snow tumble and swirl under the street light’s brilliance.  Even now, as I sit in my recliner and listen to the whir of the bathroom fan and stare at a computer screen, I am a little girl in ugly 70’s clothes and with long ponytails, nestled against the warm ceramic radiator and watching the snow look like paisley swirls in a yellowish light.

This is the epitome of contentment for me.  It had nothing to do with hot chocolate or music.  It was the peace of being in my home with my family and watching the snow being caught and lifted by the wind and spin in an arch though a dim, golden light.

This is why I love snow.

Because every time it snows, I am a giddy child again who goes outside and awkwardly tilts her face to the sky so she can watch the snowflakes float down to the Earth and see their tiny shadows against a gray sky.  Yes, I love doing that.  And every time it snows, this is my personal tradition.

Because I love snow.

When I was a teenager, I was hateful towards my parents.  The fact that I didn’t fit rang true in my home and so often I felt like the outsider (my parents are wonderful, by the way).  One night, when it was snowing, my father work me up and took me outside to the woods behind our house (Northern Virginia memory here).  He had invented a game in which we would select a small tree, sapling, etc. and shake the it so that the snow would peel off the branches and fall onto our heads.

What was the purpose?

To have fun.  Because that is my father:  fun.

The Girl with snow...

The Girl with snow…

So that night, we stumbled through the dark and shook skinny trees and laughed like fools when the snow plopped down onto our heads.  And then we’d shake off snow and search for another tree ripe with snow that needed to be shook and freed of its burden.

This is why I love snow.

I don’t love snow because I am a teacher and I get a day off from school.  Hell, yesterday, I worked two hours beyond my “contract time” because I was doing much needed catch-up.  The entire time, though, my curtains were open and I was watching the snow (and, yes, I did go outside and look up and watch the snowflakes float down and into my eyes).  And for a brief amount of time, while I was curled up in my warm pajamas and my bathrobe and a thick blanket (hey, I was cold), I was also a little girl leaning against a warm radiator, watching the snow in a street light.

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