Symbolic Delays

Weather affects more than the Psalms, of course.  With all the hype of the latest winter storm things were closed or delayed before any accumulation even started.  Now I’ll admit up front that I’m a fan of snow days; we dutifully trudge to our desk jobs as if we’re doing something vital when many of us are really just trying to make money for the man.  A snow day’s a little unplanned levity in our lives when staying off the roads seems like a good idea.  It’s one of life’s guilty pleasures.  Of course, the dreaded delayed opening brings its own set of issues.  You can’t sleep in unless it’s announced the night before, and once you’re up your mind heads to work anyway.  Working remotely, alas, means you have no excuse, no matter what the weather.

Snow is a great symbol.  I don’t mean its whiteness and purity—there are plenty of white things that aren’t pure.  No, I mean it’s a great symbol in its ability to control people.  We don’t like rain, although we understand its necessity.  Snow, however, fills us with a childlike wonder.  Anticipation.  Unlike a winter rain, it can be fun to play in.  It covers everything.  The suggestion of a blanket ironically makes us feel warm, even as the temperature dips below freezing.  But for me the most potent symbol is light.  I awake early, even on snow days.  As I make my way downstairs in the dark, it’s immediately evident when snow covers everything because the sky is lighter than it should be this time of day.  Whatever light’s trapped below the clouds reflects off the snow creating a luminosity that’s almost otherworldly in its calm.  It doesn’t last too long for the sun is rising earlier, at least it is until our pointless time change, but for a few hours we’re in the midst of an unnatural light.

Darkness is far too prevalent.  We know that someday even our mighty sun will use up all its fuel.  We crave the light for it’s limited.  Days are noticeably longer now than they were at the start of December.  Those few moments of serenity before the sun comes up, when the snow produces what seems like its own light, are among the most tranquil of life.  Before the plows begin scraping metal against asphalt, hoping for a snow day while wrapped in a fleece throw, face clouding the chilly window before it.  Yes, it’s a powerful symbol.  Even if the internet means work awaits just as usual.  

3 thoughts on “Symbolic Delays

  1. Jeremiah Andrews

    Hi Steve,
    Snow events here in Montreal, well, any big weather event, from my perch in our apartment is grand. We live 17 stories up with West facing view. When clouds move in, we have a great view. Every night, is a different visual. There are sky scrapers just up the block and are up-lit from their roofs. So clouds rolling in get lit up from underneath. And snow clouds as they roll in as well, are up-lit and we have orange streetlights, for ice issues, so falling snow is tainted orange as it falls, and glows orange on the ground. We’ve had our share of serious snow fall over the years.

    Weather is something we pay close attention to. Every sunset from our perch is amazing, wth as many colors as are possible under God. We are situated between 3 subway (Metro) stations so getting around is easy, even when it snows, we are only three blocks from each of them. We don’t necessarily use above ground transport, unless connecting from the Metro. Snow or no snow, rain or no rain, people are used to getting around in harsh weather.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jeremy. I recall how the snow looks orange in the city—it can be an ethereal sight. In New York getting around underground is possible but there are simply too many people going too many places to make it practical when snow blocks above-ground transportation. Snow days are great for the imagination!


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