Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Treasures of the Snow Revisited

As we sit and work, or sit and dream, a day comes in which stillness falls.  A hush is on the earth; a gray sky is overspread above; an uneasiness is in the air which is not wind.  Go to the window and watch. 

With these words William Channing Gannett calls us to contemplate the storm.  He makes it sound so peaceful--even though he goes on to describe the snow as a sort of occupying army.  Somehow I think he wasn't the one responsible for the kids when they stayed home from school!  My wife works from home, so she doesn't have the day off.  This does influence the nature of the day.

Norm put in a couple of hours this morning as Son #1 did the homework he didn't do last night.  Then they went outside to build a snow fort, throw snowballs, etc.  I shovelled the walk and the driveway, took pictures, chipped in a bit on the fort (in a supervisory role) and then got right into the administering of "time-outs".

Son #3 has veered from fragility to truculence to outright rebellion all morning.  He doesn't want to be outside or inside (in opposition, of course, to where the rest are most happy at any moment).  He wants to watch TV and play video games.  Who are these people who get to sit by the window with some hot chocolate and watch the snow fall?  I think I know, and I think I have a way to go before I am one of them.

Anyway, the storm has postponed a potentially more interesting post about a couple of parenting books I just read.  I am sure I will get to them at some point.  They are all about how we should let our children raise themselves a bit more than we do.  I am all for that.

The storm, by the way, is fantastic.  The snow is piling up on the trees and the frozen river and the road.  This sabbatical I am really enjoying the show that winter has put on for us.  Every day the landscape changes.  Every day I have tried to get out into it and this has been good.  Again I wish I had Gannett's gift for language so that I could tell you all about it, but I don't.  Suffice it to say that I have always gotten pretty tired of winter and its difficulties in the past.  This year--with the extra time--it has not been the case.  This winter I have weekends (thank you Labor Movement!).  It has been a long time since I have had so many strung together.  Perhaps this time with nature will be the best part part of staybattical.   It wouldn't surprise me in the least.

Here is a bit of the "occupying army" part of Gannett's essay
A few heralds clad in white come floating down, turning this way, turning that way, like scouts seeking for paths and camping-places.  Then, of a sudden, the thick, dull sky is alive with trooping forms!  The ways of the air are filled with the army of Snow!  Their tread is not with sound, but second by second they arrive, and alight, and possess themselves of the hills and the hollows.  The fields grow silent and white with their gleaming camp.

I would say that they have pretty much taken over here in Burbania...

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