Best two words in winter? “Snow Day”.
Yes. I will look back in mid-June and see the extension of school days to meet mandatory requirements, and I will sigh. I might question the wisdom of school administrators who would keep students cooped up in classrooms on warm sunny summer afternoons, but even then I will still admit, I love a snow day.
The outside lights were on all night so I could check on the progress of snow mounting on the barn roof. I could hear the town’s plows, chained tires rattling, working throughout the night. My eyeglasses were handy so that I could grab them and read the small print of scrolling school closings on the TV screen, but this morning I did not need them since my school district thoughtfully sent a robo-call.
I am not surprised that one of my favorite poets, Billy Collins, has a poem titled “Snow Day” where he expresses his appreciation of weather-induced holidays. In stanzas 4-6, he mimics the listings of school closings on the radio:
But for now I am a willing prisoner in this house,a sympathizer with the anarchic cause of snow.I will make a pot of teaand listen to the plastic radio on the counter,as glad as anyone to hear the news
that the Kiddie Corner School is closed,the Ding-Dong School, closed.the All Aboard Children’s School, closed,the Hi-Ho Nursery School, closed,along with—some will be delighted to hear—
the Toadstool School, the Little School,Little Sparrows Nursery School,Little Stars Pre-School, Peas-and-Carrots Day Schoolthe Tom Thumb Child Center, all closed,and—clap your hands—the Peanuts Play School.…read more from “Snow Day”Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (New York: Random House, 2001).
I have written about Collins’s poetry (see links below) several times in this blog for Poetry Friday. His lyrics run parallel to my experiences of growing up, so there is a sense of nostalgia, a familiarity, when I read his poems. His poetry is accessible to all grade levels, but it is his wry humor in his observations on the universal human experience that makes me want to share him with students. So much of literature can be serious, or downright depressing, that I am grateful, even a little giddy, to have several books of Collins’s poetry on my shelf ready for an opportune moment.
“Look,” I will say, “here’s a funny poem about Emily Dickinson!” or “Hey, want me to read a comic take on the elements of a sonnet?”
This snow day is one more excuse to share Collins’s poetry with others- whatever the climate. And for just a day, I can pity those in those waking up in sunny Southern California who are going to school. They may have the warm sun on their toes sticking out of their sandals, but they will never know the pleasure of warm toes stretching out under warm blankets just as there is the announcement of a school cancellation….to roll over…and to hit the snooze button.
Sleep in. It’s a snow day.