Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Snow, Glorious Snow: Why I'm a Fan of the Flakes

The snow is here! The snow is here!

Shut the schools! Storm the Giant! Gather the firewood!

And I mean it. I'm not being facetious, sarcastic or tongue-in-cheek. I'm glad the snow is finally here and I'm ready to embrace it in all its snowiness. Our winter so far has been a perversion, a twist on Narnia. In that mythical land it was always winter but never Christmas. Here's it's been perpetual winter without winter's one saving grace: snow.

This isn't the exact snowfall I wanted, but it'll do for now. What I wanted was a blizzard, 12 inches or more, enough to paralyze the city and silence those critics who moan whenever a school system decides not to open in the face of a few flakes.

Montgomery County is supposedly the worst offender, a victim of its varied geography -- from urban Silver Spring in the east to rural Boyds in the west. MoCo can't shut half the schools, given that students are bused every which way. (Thank the magnet schools for that.)

I see the logic. I took my daughter to a party out in Damascus a few weeks ago. That was a grim enough drive in the dry daylight -- twisting and turning along a riverbed, up and down a hill -- that I shudder to think what it's like today. I suppose those kids could just stay home, though their absences would be unexcused. (My prediction: All the school systems that opened on time today will close early, wishing they hadn't opened at all.)

I know that a lot of people are inconvenienced by snow, but today I happen not to be one of them. My kids -- if they ever get out of bed -- can take care of themselves. I don't need to arrange daycare. I have one appointment today, at noon. I'll leave early, drive carefully and hope I-270 is clear.

I'll revel in a landscape transformed: snow, nature's Wite-Out, obscuring temporarily the ugliness of our exurban sprawl. I'll walk the dog, delighting in his frolicking. (Black dogs seem to love the snow, appreciating the juxtaposition of colors.) I'll try to channel from my children that feeling I dimly remember from my own youth: a gift, a free day dropped quite literally from the heavens.

I'll start a fire and warm walrus blubber that I've scraped from a hide with my whalebone knife. (Um, actually, I won't do that.) I'll watch My Lovely Wife shovel the walk. (I will do that -- watch, I mean.)

We have so few things that jolt us from the mundane predictability of our days. A snowfall does that. Yes, it was predicted -- and the joy of a total surprise blizzard is pretty much lost to us -- but I'll take these four inches, tilting back my head and letting the flakes melt on my tongue. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

But what do you think?

By John Kelly  |  January 27, 2009; 9:51 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Crossed Circuits: A City in Flames
Next: Sleep On Your Own, Kid: A Polemic Against Bed-Sharing


Well said, John, especially the tweak of Fisher.

Posted by: staxowax | January 27, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I'll save my Cleveland-bred snow response superciliousness for another time and just say this: I love it when it snows. There is nothing worse than a winter rain, and that's what this region gets by on for 3 months a year. I'll happily walk 2 miles in swirling snow, but I get pretty salty after three blocks in a 35-degree rain shower.

Posted by: MattinSW | January 27, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

It is twisted; your byheadline is right in front of the report of an accident in Frederick, in the snow, with a death. Got it?

Posted by: linda_521 | January 27, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Twisted? C'mon now, lets not exaggerate. Twisted would be if John posted the article with this title on purpose, as a mockery of the accident. Unfortunate timing perhaps, but not twisted.

Posted by: dr_klahn | January 27, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Being from Chicago, I love snow -- hate sleet -- love Quattro!! I think it is definitely not roadster weather....(right, John) but cherry blossom time will come soon enough.

Enjoy the ride!!

Posted by: shepDC | January 27, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I grew up here in Northern Va. and Fauquier County has always been the greatest offender probably because they have a very large area to cover. But it takes VERY little to cancel snow there and they are ALWAYS on the list of closures. They might also set aside for more snow days at the beginning of the year so that they can afford to cancel at their leisure.

Posted by: rocotten | January 27, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Count me in the liking-snow camp. It sure is a nice break from mostly gray winters. If we have to slow down -- literally and figuratively -- all the better. But I sure am getting tired of both the freak-out by petrified locals and superiority of transplants from the frozen north whenever we're even threatened by any amount of "the white stuff." Seems like another symptom of our increasing disconnection from the real, natural world. Yes, it's uncomfortable to go out when it's cold and wet. And you certainly can't drive like it's dry and 70. But for goodness sake, it's only a couple of days a year around here and it's part of the rhythm of real life. But please also don't go all superior if you were born in an igloo somewhere between Buffalo and International Falls. There are real dangers in this weather, particularly because we don't experience it every day.

Posted by: zlevay | January 27, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Snow isn't the issue. The issue is road crews or their political masters who rarely "get it right." Its snow-phobic commuters who do not (or possibly cannot) choose mass transit or to stay home and thus clog the roads and take my commute to the multi-hour range. So, snow, as a concept and as a joyful childhood memory, yes I love it, as a fact of life in DC Metro...feh!

Posted by: mfromalexva | January 27, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I liked snow a lot better when I worked someplace that would give a paid day off or let you work from home if the roads were bad. Now that I don't, it's a lot less fun.

Posted by: tmmm | January 27, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I agree that it's not the snow, but the people who just don't know how to drive in any kind of weather. The main roads were just wet and you would think that there was 2 feet of snow on the roads with people driving 10, 15 and 20 miles per hour under the speed limit.

If you aren't comfortable driving in these conditions, do everyone a favor and STAY OFF THE ROADS!!

Posted by: igetdeadbeats | January 27, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse


Its 76 degrees outside & sunny. Im wearing shorts & flip-flops, and the central A/C is on.

There is also plenty of TP, bread & milk at the local publix. =)

Posted by: Robbnitafl | January 27, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

It's your Ohio snow correspondent again--we're supposed to get upwards of 10" tonight. Come on out here!

Posted by: choirgirl04 | January 27, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

If I could actually get a day off work for it, it would be fantastic. (Likelihood of that happening around here? Um, yeah.)

Yeah, not a Fed. (Although it takes a LOT to get the Fed. Gov't to close. Can we have one of THOSE storms, please?)

Posted by: | January 27, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Your colleague over on the Winter Weather chat has explained why we get a lot of cold weather but when precip comes it usually warms up & rains.

Posted by: mebutle | January 27, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I love snow -- but I'd rather have the monster storms that close the government (and everything else) than this piddly storm we have now that just makes a mess. I want to get my new cross-country skis out!

Posted by: mensa58 | January 27, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

As one of those cowards who refuses to drive in 2 inches of snow, I would love to take public transportation, but let's see, I live by BWI and work in outer Laurel. It is 30 minutes away, but there is no public transportation. I have no problem walking in the ice and snow, I just don't know how to drive on something you never get to see in the tropics.

A hurricane, bah! Torrential downpours, piffle! Snow, RUN FOR THE HILLS! So for my safety and that of my fellow human beings, I stay at home, drink some soup and wait it out. Now if employers were a little more lenient on what is actually an unusual occurrence in these parts, it might actually be perfect.

Posted by: Kruhn1 | January 30, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company