So remember last week when I declared a snow day for myself? This week Mother Nature decided to show me what a real snow day looks like (a la Crocodile Dundee’s “That’s a knife!”). The University officially shut down both yesterday and today due to blizzard conditions and I’m very excited, not because I get to miss classes (I have none on Tuesdays or Wednesdays), but because this is the first time in my entire life that my school/job declared an official snow day. Honestly, for 3 decades in the Midwest, that’s a pretty good record. And so I’m all a-flutter. A sleepy flutter.

All day I watched the teensy snowflakes being whipped around in the wind and thought it looked pretty nasty outside, but disappointingly the snow didn’t seem very deep. Around sundown I noticed that the car I’d been using as my snow yardstick throughout the day no longer had a hood, but rather just a windshield and roof popping out of a snow drift. Uh oh. I knew I had friends out and about in the weather and worried how they would get home, especially after the local news said that the city had pulled the snow plow fleet off the roads because conditions were too dangerous for them. It’s easy to forget in the fun of cancelled responsibilities and all tucked away in our warm homes or offices with the Internet and TV just how powerful and merciless the weather can be. I think we get sort of brazen in our confidence that we can keep ourselves safe through human ingenuity and sheer will and forget that a small window of carelessness or false security can be truly dangerous and even fatal. One hundred, five hundred, one thousand years ago, winter storms were terrifying because they almost always meant loss — of life, of food, of livelihoods. I don’t want to be too much of a bummer (It’s a snow day! Hooray!), but every time I heard the sirens going yesterday afternoon, it was a reminder that something very scary was happening to someone out in that nasty blizzard.

All that said, I OF COURSE ventured out on foot around 9 last night to join some friends for food and drink. It was beautiful and still, sparkley and delightful. We had to walk down the middles of the streets because the sidewalks were a foot deep or more and, in some cases, the roads were too. We saw handfuls of other adventurers, witnessed car-pushing and snowballs fights and a couple of ridiculous slow-motion falls. My apartment was completely boxed in by snow drifts coming up almost mid-thigh so my much taller friends forged a path for me to follow to minimize risk of me disappearing completely under the snow and all the while laughing so hard that I almost couldn’t keep my balance. It was a good day, indeed.