I woke to the alarm, and fell asleep again. It was a delicious extra four minutes of surrender, followed by the stern advisement from somewhere watchful in my consciousness that the alarm had actually gone off, enough to wake me. The world beyond the patio window is not-quite-blanketed in white. Yesterday’s evening snowfall is still with us. The parking lot is smooth, white, and icy. Checking the weather report and the public transit schedule confirms my choice to work from home is a good call.

My first peek at the new day.

My first peek at the new day.

My morning suddenly shifts, slows down, and my priorities adjust, as I wake up more. I’m working from home today. I gain 2.5 hours back in my day (usually spent commuting) and prevent the loss of 2.5 additional hours I’d have lost to the inclement weather (last night’s commute home was 2.5 hours, itself, instead of the usual 1.25 hours). I’m not even bitching – the walk through the snowy night was lovely, and the commuters on the light rail were fairly merry in spite of circumstances.

A hazy skyline on a snowy night.

A hazy skyline on a snowy night.

I smile in the darkness. I opened the patio blinds first thing to gaze out across the snowy meadow. The only light in the room now is the glow of the laptop monitor; I have not yet turned on any lights, even making my coffee in the dim twilight of a pre-dawn snowy morning. This moment is mine. Well…mine, and of course, yours, and even that of the raccoon who visited during the night, to check for treats left behind by the squirrel and the birds.

We are each having our own experience. Perspective matters.

We are each having our own experience. Perspective matters.

I sip my coffee thinking about the weather. I let my mind wander to “snow days” of childhood. We rarely stayed entirely home from school, but often school would start later. I lived in a different region. It snowed more often, and there was more, deeper (also dryer, fluffier) snow; people are more prepared for snow there, too, and this makes a difference to how well they cope, and how serious it seems. Here, in this community, even a small amount of snow causes real panic. The snow here is sticky, wetter, icy. The tendency toward warmer winter temperatures, generally, often results in brief warming sufficient to melt some snow, then refreezing everything as the temperature drops again (often with both changes happening during the same night). The result? We wake to a world glazed in ice. I have seen this entire city coated with an icy shine, every surface, every blade of grass, every branch, every lingering blossom. I have heard the somewhat bizarre and musical crackling and crinkling as every icy surface begins to fracture with the slightest breeze. It is a wonderland… a rather dangerous wonderland, actually, and people who live here often just call out from work rather than deal with risking their cars or their safety, and schools basically shut down if there is a flake falling. Last night, the train was crammed with commuters who, in frustration or impatience, or fear, parked their cars in the city somewhere along their commute and finished their trip home on public transportation.

I generally just go about my business regardless. I dress for the weather. I make my way with great care. I put on Yak Tracks, bundle up in my cold weather gear, even wear a winter base layer under my work clothes. This morning, I will work from home… Unless it starts raining, and the snow melts away before my eyes (which could, has, and does happen in this region), in which case I’ll quickly dress and head to the office. I make a point of extending my awareness to include compassion and sympathy for workers who don’t have that option, who will either lose a day’s wages, or have to make their way across the ice, through the traffic, to jobs that will be seriously inconvenienced by the call outs of coworkers. We don’t all have the same choices available to us. We don’t all make the same choices when we do. We are each having our own experience.

It’s about that time… if I were going to the office, I’d be pulling on my boots right now. Wrapping my scarf around my neck. Pulling on my hat, my gloves, and grabbing my hiking staff. Instead, I make a second coffee – it’s still more than an hour before I get started for the day. It’s early yet for squirrels or birds, and I check the feeders, refilling them before visitors of the furred or feathered sort arrive. It’s a snowy day, a tougher one for foraging I expect. I add walnut halves, pecan pieces, and pine nuts to the usual corn kernel-sunflower-peanut mix I put out for the squirrel. The winter suet feeder has a seeded block for winter birds looking for seeds, and another block with meal worms and such for birds looking for something different. The winter seed bell is all black sunflower seeds. The blue jays and red-wing blackbirds aren’t so picky, but many of the small birds seem very particular. I enjoy being a good hostess. 🙂 I set up for the day facing the patio.

Today? It’s a snow day. 🙂 Today is a good day to make the ordinary quite extraordinary. Today is a good day to enjoy the moment I’ve got. I think about winter weather and childhood snow days. I recall being told to bundle up, and to be careful out there. I sip my coffee and wonder how I can bring that same quality of consideration and care to all my relationships – and to the world.