Magic of a Snow Day

Photos out of a window don’t begin to capture the magic of a snow day.

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The snow fell over night. 100 percent chance, the weather report said, so we knew it was coming. Three inches in Richmond shuts everything down. That is the magic of snow. Everything stops. Whatever we have here – food, books, each other – has to be enough. There is no place to go. We are cocooned in snow-muffled quiet. I like that.

I check the weather & closings, listen for the robocall that announces what I know looking out the window. School is out for the day. It’s a decree; no decisions to be made – the county has decided it’s unsafe to travel.

Time stolen from a daily routine of classes and bells stretches out like a cat. What a gift.

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Snapshot Tuesday : hot tub angel

photograph from winter storm

The morning after a winter storm in Richmond, Virginia, January 18, 2013.

I’ve decided to revive my tradition of Snapshot Tuesday – posting a photograph or two on Tuesdays.  This is one I took in my neighborhood the morning after a fast-moving January storm.  It was the storm with thundersnow … the weather just keeps getting weirder and weirder.

on the US military “going green”

I had no idea that the U.S. military was leading the way on “going green” … there might be some hope for us yet.

The Real Reason the Military is Going Green by Natalie Pompilio — YES! Magazine.

Here’s a snippet from the article:
    …  Climate change simply brings the question of alternative fuel development into sharper focus.   “[Climate change is] a threat multiplier, increasing instability in some of the most volatile regions in the world,” said Lt. Gen. Norman Seif, a retired U.S. Air Force commander who is now active in promoting clean energy. “That can be a threat to us and our own national security.”  …

The military’s initiatives are much broader in scope than simply developing alternative fuels to end dependence on foreign oil.  By 2020, the Army will have 17 bases using “only as much energy and water as they can produce” – part of their “net zero initiative.”

The Marines like solar power for a number of reasons.  There’s more room in their packs for food and supplies if they’re not hauling in batteries.  And solar-power generators are quiet … “Marines start using this, and they believe it scares the bad guys because they can’t hear where we’re at because there’s no generator running” (Marine Col. Bob Charette, director of Expeditionary Energy for the Marine Corps as qtd in the article).

I guess it’s a lucky thing for the planet that the military doesn’t have time for the rhetoric and doublespeak that’s preventing the rest of us from doing what we need to do about climate change.  But I do wish some of that military funding for innovation would be diverted into the private sector.  It’s not good for our democracy if only the military is “green”.

working in thin winter light

This time of year I find it hard to be motivated, productive, or light-hearted.  I don’t know if it’s the chill or the long nights … but I want to hibernate … to sleep and to dream.  Instead, I work on my projects and make lists and push myself to check stuff off the lists and keep our household running as if the weather and the thin winter light didn’t exist.

I blog less when I’m in this state.

One reason so many people become giddy with snow that closes everything down is that most of us are pushing too hard.  It’s not good for our bodies.  It’s not good for our spirits.  But there’s the mortgage to pay and achievement to show at the end of the day.

I love to work … but most work I’ve been asked to do over my lifetime has not felt like real work to me, but like something I do to promote someone else’s agenda and to bring in life-maintenance money.  As long as I sort of agree with the agenda, I’ve been able to pull this off.  With every passing birthday, however, I increasingly tire of wasting time that I won’t get back – that’s why I’m pursuing a PhD.  I’d like to spend my life doing the work I love to do … writing and research and teaching writing and research … and get paid enough, maybe just enough, to provide food, shelter, clothing, and soul-sustaining cultural experiences for me and my family.

It’s a simple goal.  I’ll see it more clearly as the days get longer and the nights shorter.  

snow and the rare book room

D and N went back to school today for the first time all week.  Last weekend’s snow storm socked in Richmond and left us with icy, dangerous streets for days.  Even the University closed on Monday, which is rare.  It looks like  another storm is going to hit tomorrow – although the weather guys on Channel 12 say the amount we’re going to get could range anywhere from 12 inches to 4.  Even four inches snarls things up here, though, and events are already being cancelled for tomorrow and Saturday.  


I had blocked off tomorrow to spend at the rare book room on campus. In our Methods class we’re learning how to do academic descriptions of material objects – using guidelines established by textual bibliographers.  I found the manuscript much easier to do than the printed book and have to go back and spend another few hours with Dr. Samuel Johnson’s Journeys.  But another storm could mean more school closures which would mean I’d have to postpone my date with the rare book room.  

For today – I’ll restock the pantry and do some writing.  Writing is harder to do when N & D are home interrupting me and probably more important for my long-term professional development … not to mention my mental health.