Snow crowds the air today—it’s Chicago’s “Storm of the Century,” the debilitating dump that has nearly every Chicagoan home staring out windows. I’ve been watching the skylight in our common room. The snow falls. Wind sweeps it away. Repeat.
As I write, I hear a neighbor working at the piles around her car. Occasionally another neighbor passes by saying something I can’t hear, but I imagine it’s “Are you crazy? Go inside. Don’t you know God gave us this storm as a day of rest?”
Perhaps I’m projecting.
We are free from school, and I’m happy to find myself lost. Certainly, I could shovel (though more will fall) and certainly I could grade (though more will fall), but found time is the sweetest sort, too precious to waste at familiar labor. If it weren’t so miserable out, I might join my neighbor, move a little of her snow, and have the conversation we’ve never had about any subject safe to assume common between us—the weather, for instance.
The way the snow is falling, however, she’ll be gone before I can don the spacesuit necessary to be outside today. So instead I’ll just stay in my dream mode, as if I were in that spacesuit and floating in liberated time.
This afternoon, when the sky stops falling, we will emerge and see our shadows. The plows will push the snow, and cars will grind it into gray water again. My neighbor’s car will be missing from its spot, the bare rectangle proof of her initiative.
You’ll find me inside, still at the window, secretly wishing for another snow day, wishing for a snow day every day, all year.