Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Unexpected Holiday

My daughter and I sat and watched the names of school closings scroll along the bottom of the news show, holding our breath as the alphabet neared our district. We compared stories. The rain was freezing on everything, encapsulating it in sparkling ice. When she went out to cover her car, she slid the whole way. When I wheeled the garbage to the curb, I skated.

Around us, the Christmas lights twinkled. It took two weeks, but they’re up. The dog wound his way between us, cat like, asking to be scratched, looking hopefully at his stocking. Although he checks his stocking daily, he’s learned in his 14½ years that it isn’t Christmas until we gather. He was clearly wondering: did this make it a holiday?

And it did, in a way. Odd, to me, that the times I remember most fondly through the years often have to do with bad weather, because it forced us to stop and come together, united against the elements. One of my favorites was the time the thunderstorm took out our power. My middle school- and grade school-aged children were torn from their lights and electronics, and we all gathered in the dark and comforted the dog and laughed even louder than the thunder.

We were lucky, of course. Lucky that the roof was okay, that the ice hadn’t knocked out power, that we were warm and comfortable in our home. That our district announced its closing the night before. That we had another unexpected holiday, the best kind.

“[Miss Maudie’s sunhat] was suspended in a thin layer of ice, like a fly in amber….” ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird. (I’ve used that one before, but it seems too fitting to pass up.)

Friendship doubles our joy and divides our grief. ~Cicero


  1. Tammy---What (other) teachers won't tell you: Teachers scream louder over school closings than the kids. Really.

    I agree. Bad weather---if the people are not a bunch of whining, glass-half-empty kind of people--can be a blast.

  2. Hi Tammy
    Both grandkiddos were happy to have a day off. And I love your quotes.

  3. Sometimes it's nice to be at home unexpectedly, especially when you have no choice but to stay there. The perfect opportunity to slow down despite the season!


  4. Nice observations. Some of the best times do occur when we least expect to find them!


Any return "messages" are appreciated!