"In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.'' -William Blake
Poet William Blake was obviously not in the business of scheduling high school sporting events.
During this latest blast of winter, I watched the dozens of school closings and athletic postponements ticking across the bottom of my television screen, thinking about the headaches being created for school administrators, athletic directors and coaches. A snow day for them means trying to re-schedule practice sessions, basketball games, swim meets and wrestling matches in time for playoffs and tournaments. A snow day means stress.
But it also reminded me of a time way too many years ago when a snow day was the best news we could get - a snow day was a holiday, a chance to celebrate Mother Nature's coldest season rather than curse it.
Of course those who love to ice fish, ski, snowboard or snowmobile love and appreciate the cold climate, and rejoice in the white stuff blanketing the mountains and meadows of Central Pennsylvania.
Putting the shovel and scraper aside, I'm thinking back to the days when I joined packs of kids at the top of a frozen hill for hours of sled riding.
We'd race down the hill on our "flexible flyers,'' sleds with actual metal runners, wood slats and a rope string for a handle. We'd trudge back up the hill over and over for the thrill of sliding down again and again - head first, two at a time or side-by-side. We'd build forts and whole families of snowmen. We'd play "king of the mountain,'' make snow angels and hike through the snowy woods.
It was a complete workout: strength training through the building of snow structures with the added resistance of our many layers of clothing. (Just like Ralphie's little brother in the Christmas Story: "We couldn't put our arms down!'')
The hills we climbed while dragging our sleds were steep and deep - with a greater reward than the "hill'' workout we can punch into our treadmills today. Our hearts were pounding with aerobics and adrenalin, playing tag in knee-high snow, all while enjoying the crisp fresh air.
When the sun was going down, we were finally called back inside, red-faced and wrinkled from the day's events, peeling off clothes soaked with sweat and snow. We'd pile our moon boots and damp mittens next to the fire, sip hot chocolate and then settle down for a warm and toasty winter night's sleep.
A snow day is a great time to be a kid. While the grown-ups worry about re-working the athletic schedule, kids get a set of snowy sports all their own.
And after a day of impromptu winter games, they can put their heads on their pillows and dream of yellow buses sleeping under their own white blankets, and a chance that school might be called off again tomorrow.
Kellie Goodman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.