It’s not very often we get snow here in the New River Valley; at least not the kind of snow we had on a Sunday afternoon not so long ago. It fell in sticky white clumps throughout the afternoon and by the time the sky began to dim and the evening was gathering itself, our neighborhood was quiet and shrouded in a heavy white blanket.
I remember growing up and revelling in a days like that day. I remember staying outside long after I was cold and wet, and still not wanting to come in. There was always so much promise in a snow day: new games to play, a different environment to explore, and best of all – the likelihood that school would be cancelled.
Still, despite those memories, when my daughter tried to rally some interest in going outside to play that Sunday afternoon, she didn’t find any immediate takers. My wife and I lobbied for curling up under blankets and watching a movie, and her older brother – a full-blown teenager – simply indicated his disinterest with a shrug. In the end, maturity prevailed. We popped popcorn, assumed our preferred seats in the family room, dimmed the lights, and whiled away a couple of nice relaxing hours.
As the credits rolled, my daughter raised the blinds and the sight caught us all by surprise. The snow glowed in the failing light, piled inches high on every reasonably flat surface, frosting the tree branches, the wrought iron porch furniture, the seat of the tree swing hanging forlornly in the back yard.
“I’m going outside,” she said.
I chimed in. “Me, too.”
Without a word, my son bounded up the stairs to the front hall closet, and we all began gathering up coats, hats, gloves, scarves, and boots. Even the dog, sensing something exciting coming, began racing between the front and back doors.
About an hour and three snowmen later, all the coats, hats, gloves, scarves, and boots rested in a bright, wet pile in the laundry room; the dog lay curled up on his bed; and the four of us were gathered around the kitchen table, red-faced and sipping hot chocolate.
The snow will melt soon enough. It never lasts long here in southwest Virginia, and frankly, I’m pretty grateful for that. But that afternoon won’t melt, and even as my kids move beyond the snowman years, I’ll preserve it as long as I can.
Turns out there’s still a lot of promise in a snow day.