It's still dark at 6am. Most days it is, anyway. Today, though, there is a soft light, coming from both above and below, a glow that fills the dark air. White-blue, it feels equal parts magical and softly comforting, a light that hints of cocooning and transformation.
It's a snow day.
Last year was a very snowy winter around these parts. Kalen wasn't in school yet, so snow days weren't part of our family language, but statewide, enough days of school were missed that it became a common topic of conversation, part of the small talk at the gas station and post office and grocery store, even (insomuch as it affected municipal budgets) making it onto the local news.
At our house, it meant I had a lot of shoveling to do. For a while it seemed as if every other night, after dinner, I was out clearing the new pile of snow at the foot of our driveway left behind by the snowplow's incessant pass-bys, so that Josh could pull in when he got home.
I like to shovel. I didn't mind. (Although it became harder and harder to toss the snow onto piles that were approaching five feet tall.)
This year, though?
The ground was bare when we went to bed last night. I've only shoveled once, and that was mostly for kicks - the inch of light, fluffy snow was definitely not in anyone's way. We've had only two storms move through that left a layer of white on the ground, and each time I rushed the boys out to play in it, knowing that it was a fleeting opportunity. Soon, the air would warm, the rain would come, and the snow would be gone.
It's like we're having a Seattle winter this year.
And again today. It's not 6am any more. Closing in on 7:00, I can hear the boys stirring and beginning to chat across their bedroom. They will want to make a snow fort, or maybe a snow whale. I will need to hurry them out once again, because the air has already changed. Looking out the window as the glow fades to dawn, past the bird feeder that the cardinals take possession of in the early hours, I notice that the snow on my car has cracks in in, where it is shifting and clumping together. The precious white covering the yard is quickly loosing the smoothness of its youth, becoming pockmarked and dimpled as it ages into slush. Closer to me, the precipitation that is blowing against the window has become audible. A clickety-tapping sound that reminds me of sparkles. Icy sleet.
It's warming up. The radar says the rain is almost here. Maybe if we hurry we can get in one good snowball fight before breakfast.
These snow day windows of opportunity sure do slam shut quickly this year. Which makes me treasure all the more the times we manage to slip through them, just in time.