Making Snow

Yesterday, I was privy to at least three conversations in which someone said, “I don’t know, it’s supposed to snow tomorrow.” It was said in that way we usually say it here in New England — “I don’t know, I might need to run to the store, make sure the shovel is ready, flip up the wipers on the car, figure out what to do if work and school are cancelled.” Said like that, except with a little less conviction.

Less conviction not just because the climate crisis has changed the predictability of our winters, but because the toxic cocktail of technology and the pandemic has changed how we manage those treasured Snow Days.

Remember? You’d wait by the radio — dating myself — and listen for the alphabetical recitation of towns that had closed school for the day. Waiting and hoping to hear your town before whooping up with a cheer and heading back to bed or turning on the television.

Remember? You’d hear the forecast and run to the store to stock up — [check all boxes that apply] wine, chocolate, cookies, macaroni and cheese, pop-tarts, brussels sprouts, pot roast, ice cream. Then hunker down with a good book, some DVDs, a warm blanket, and your cat.

These days, more often than not, Snow Days mean comfy clothes, Zoom, and eye drops because we’re about to spend the next 10 hours in front of the machines. We’ll do remote school and remote work, we’ll catch up on other things, we’ll surf the internet and email and social media ourselves ad infinitum. All of that, while some part of our soul is hoping the power goes out…just for a little while at least. Please?

The other piece of conversation I’ve heard at least three times lately? “I’m just so fucking tired.”

Oh my god. Me too. Aren’t we all? Just. so. fucking. tired.

And not just tired sleepy tired. But tired overwhelmed saturated burnt-out exhausted almost-hopeless-but-I’m trying-really-hard-to-keep-the-faith, dear-god-not-another-Zoom tired.


Breathe and then consider this…

Most ski resorts these days make their own snow. Not just because the climate crisis has been steadily shortening the snow season for decades, but because snowmaking supplements natural snow. It allows ski resorts to improve the reliability of the snow cover and to extend their ski season beyond the winter months — so sayeth Wikipedia.

In a sense, Snowmaking for ski resorts is what Snow Days are for all of us. Good old-fashioned Snow Days supplement the meager amount of time off we allow ourselves by giving us a no-excuse-necessary moment to stop, rest, and regroup. Snow Days — those glorious unplanned days off —improve our reliability and extend our productivity more than technology wants us to think.

In so many ways, technology has been a saving grace during the pandemic. It’s allowed us to work from home, connect with friends and loved ones, order supplies, and stay safe. But it’s also skewed our sense of time and time off. It keeps us on constant alert — the chimes, buzzes, and dings making us a pack of Pavlov’s dogs anxious for the next task, the next command, the next IMPORTANT THING TO ADDRESS, with very little reward.

That’s why you have to create the reward for yourself.

Remember the proverb “make hay while the sun shines”? How about “make snow when the sun wanes,” or when you’re so freaking exhausted you can’t even remember proverbs?

Make snow. Make a Snow Day. Everything will still be here when you shovel yourself out tomorrow. I promise.

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