Forgive me going on again about the weather, but we’ve just had one of the biggest snow storms of the season and after the shock of having to shovel the driveway (twice!) I began to ponder the way this kind of winter phenomenon has changed over the years. When I was a kid, a snow day was something to look forward too. Just the hint of a storm was enough to keep us up at night hoping and praying that when we woke up the next day there would be so much white stuff on the ground that schools would be cancelled and we’d be completely free for the day. Temporarily paroled, we would venture outdoors to build snowmen, igloos and tunnels in the drifts, to wage snow ball warfare and hold toboggan distance sliding contests. This storm has closed schools, highway traffic is at a standstill, offices staff are logging on to work from home. Both my wife and I are stranded at home, our four year old is the lucky kindergarten parolee and my daughter is without daycare. And make the best of it we did. Bundling up, we ventured out to brave the elements and relive the adventures of my youth.
I have always appreciated, deeply, the wonder of a good snowfall. The quiet tranquility combined with that unique bluish glow in the air is almost a spiritual experience. But today was about going outside and having fun with the kids. To make noise and laugh in the face of the elements. Forget the tranquility, I want a good old fashioned snowball fight!
But where are all the kids? Our street was deserted and quiet. The only happy noise was our own. Are today’s kids so programmed and regimented that they can’t step outside to play even when there’s nothing else they can possibly do? Is a snow day now just a guilt-free excuse to watch more television and play computer games? Even in a neighbourhood like ours, where there’s lots of families with kids, the streets were empty. If we can’t let our kids out to enjoy a snow day, when will we ever let them out?