Frozen Out of an Education

In my school’s after-school program yesterday, I was placed with the kindergarten and first grade group. Fifteen kiddos settled in to learn a bit about the Arctic. Whether the teacher in charge of the group planned this in coordination with the weather coming straight from the North Pole or not, I can’t say for sure. Given what I know of him, though, I’d guess that he did.

After reading a book about polar bears and having a discussion about the difference between the Arctic and Antarctic, we watched an episode of The Magic School Bus. In this episode, Ms. Frizzle proceeds to 1) get her students stranded in the Arctic, 2) see two of those kids set adrift on an ice floe with the school bus, 3) endanger the kids by angering a polar bear, and 4) shrink the kids so they can warm up in the polar bear’s fur.

Y’all? Frizzle is a menace to society and shouldn’t be allowed within three miles of young children.

Anyway, the day ended, we all bundled up and went home, and by the time dinner was ready, the word was out that there’d be no school on Tuesday due to the northern blast of cold air that was settling in. A snow day with no snow in the forecast.

Snow days are magical at any age. They’re like finding a $20 bill your coat pocket from last year. Even as an adult who grasps the consequences of needing to lose a day of summer to work at the end of the school year, a snow day still sends a tingle from my head to my toes. And if my school doesn’t have a snow day when other ones do, I get a little salty.

The snow day that’s drawing to a close as I write this has been wonderful. I slept in with my wife and our dog. Got a little reading done. Made a nice breakfast for my son and his girlfriend before we drove her to the airport to fly home. Went grocery shopping. And now I’m getting a little writing in.

It’s been far more relaxing and restful than any of the days we had off over the holidays. There was none of the pressure that goes with get-togethers, gift shopping, or forced festiveness. And there’s none of the post-holiday malaise and exhaustion. As I look at getting up in less than 12 hours to go to work, I’m way more recharged than I was on Jan. 3.

When my colleagues and I leave the house tomorrow morning, it will still be pretty dang cold. And the unprecedented stresses we’re dealing with will still be waiting for us. But for one glorious day, a lot of us got to mainline the euphoria of a Saturday without the errand-filled schedule that usually accompanies it.

That might not get us far, but it’ll get a little further than we would’ve been otherwise. And that makes the coldest day in a few years worth it.

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