top of page
  • Writer's pictureDaniel T. Dodaro

The Snow Day. A Dirge.

This post is a short rant on the importance of snow days in an increasingly scheduled world | Written by Daniel T. Dodaro

Life moves too fast. That’s a fact. We all know it. On Christmas, you receive presents from loved ones, only to find them buried in your closet, unopened, three years later. Where did all that time go? Every minute, every hour, every week seems to last an eternity. And then, one spring morning, you sit on a porch, sipping a cup of Earl Grey, wondering how an eternity passed in the blink of an eye.


Those of us who work or go to school are given days off.


“My employment contract provides fifteen personal days a year,” says the new hire contentedly. “That’s better than Daryl. He only gets ten.”


“Dad, the calendar says I get St. Patrick’s Day off this year!” chortles the energetic youth.


And so, we rejoice in what we’re given. We drink up the minutiae as we wade down the river of life. In many ways, there’s nothing wrong with this. Society has gears, and gears require diligent attendants. We can’t all be off whenever we feel like it, so we create a happy medium: an agreed set of days that each of us schedules to suit our needs. This gives us control over our lives.


Or does it?


Enter the snow day. The snow day is a tiny grain of sand in the dwindling hourglass of eternity, but it is a crucial, crucialgrain, nevertheless. It is one of the only occasions where a day of respite is not given to us by societal or business contract. We take it. Metaphorically, of course.


Even after centuries of progress, those snowplows and salt trucks still aren’t enough. They fail to subjugate that mystical white haze as it coats the world in as much silence as it does stillness. To the snow day, the most strenuous schedules, arrangements, and pay-scales are weak adversaries. For one (or two) days a year, the snow day grants us leniency, and the world holds its breath.


A Tuesday (the objective worst day of the week) can turn into a Friday (the objective best day of the week). Just like that! Ta da! Not a parlor trick. Real magic.


Because in a way, the snow day is magical. It is a metaphysical representation of nature taking back what belongs to it by right. The night before is always chaotic, a bit stressful, yet endearingly exhilarating. Children loudly (and adults silently) go to sleep in the hope that they will wake up to a better tomorrow. A tomorrow that was not planned or given or scheduled. No, a tomorrow that was freed so-to-speak, ripped from the briar, thorns, and teeth of demagogical forces.


In that sense, the snow day is a gentle reminder of life itself. We, humans—plotters all—are scoffed at by Fortuna and her simple spin of the wheel. We can’t help but surrender to it. Most of us do this joyfully, some of us bitterly. We make a hot cup of cocoa, wake up, run like shivering babes into nature’s white shroud, and navigate the foreign ruins of the world like Arctic explorers.


Thus, the snow day is clearly more than just a regular day off. It’s a surprise—something the modern world increasingly lacks.


Everything in life is scheduled now. Even fun. Hobbies have to serve a purpose. They have to tick a box on a resume. They have to light up other peoples’ social media pages to make everyone bear witness to just how great a time we’re all having. Many of us don’t play for the sake of play anymore. Or spend time together for the sake of intimacy. This tragedy is even more raw because we fall prey to it without even realizing.


They say that idle hands are the devil’s workshop. I say that they are the harbingers of creativity.


Zoom, Teams, etc. have given us all the potential to work from home, which I believe is great for productivity, flexibility, and peace of mind. Less traffic (none for those working from home, and less for those driving to work). Less stress (we can control our own thermostats instead of suffering in office complexes that are always five degrees too cold for some reason). More time with the family (shorter commute, greater flexibility).


“But what about the snow day?” asked those of you who have stayed with me on my whiney rant for this long (and for that, I am grateful).


Indeed, what about the snow day? Did modernity finally win? Did technological advancement and remote work defeat an enemy that an army of two-ton vehicles has fallen to for decades? I think so. I fear so.


I am afraid that those one or two days a year (in cyclical regions of the world, at least) are relics of the past now. We log into work (and class) as the storm rages on outside our windows. Our schedules have won. Have we truly come to terms with just how much we have lost because of that fact?


Scheduled surprise is not surprise, Dear Reader. That’s a simple truth. If we don’t take back our snow days from the jaws of industry, we will stand to lose more than we gain. Wonderment. Merriment. Memories. Wiped out. We’ll speak of snow days to future generations like we speak of dinosaurs, VHS, and reasonable wait times at Disney World.


So, fight for the snow day. Fight for yourselves. Not because you are lazy and just want off. Sloth is not our goal here. Fight for the snow day because it may just be our last opportunity to behold miracles, and our last chance to suffer spontaneity…if only for a day


This article was written by Daniel T. Dodaro, the author of Death, the Gardener.

All stories begin and end with a question. It is up to each and every one of us to discover what that question is.


Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page