I follow Jim Cantore on twitter.
You know… the bulky, bald, and beautiful weatherman from the weather channel?
That’s Jim. He likes freaks storms and tornadoes and hurricanes. A man after my own heart.
Jim “tweeted” today that ALL 50 U.S. states had snow fall on their ground. I live in Southern California, land of year round 70 degrees and sunny days. No snow in these parts.
A lot of people I know enjoyed today as a “snow day,” a thrill I have yet to experience in my lifetime. When I lived in Florida we had “hurricane days” during hurricane season. But I can’t imagine those are as fun considering there isn’t any electricity and valuable possessions can be damaged or destroyed (i.e. houses, cars, etc.)
Today was a typical post – holiday workday in January, for me. A quiet, boring kind of day when you wish something big and exciting would happen or be happening in the near future. I skimmed through the news this morning with puffy eyes as the coffee machine purred in the kitchen. I read about the incredible amounts of snowfall across the country. I decided this called for a bowl of granola and milk. And peanut butter for good measure.
Many towns declared it a “snow day.” I read a blog about a woman who exclaimed how excited she was to spend the day at home with her husband ( a school teacher ) because of the snow day. She said it feels like a weekend in the middle of the week.
I was jealous.
I shoveled a spoonful of soggy granola into my mouth and got to thinking…
What if today was a snow day for me, too? What if I got to stay home from work and do nothing? What would I do?
My instincts say it would involve buttery pancakes, lazy living room movie watching, not showering until noon and reading beneath a big quilt with a Reeses peanut butter cup nearby.
But in reality, today was a fairly mundane day of work, errands, e-mails and microwave meals. It wasn’t a snow day. But I’ve learned (am still learning) that happiness comes not from the big, exciting things in life (holidays, vacations, ‘snow days’) but the small, minuscule things. The moments I typically miss while waiting or anticipating something else to happen.
I stopped by a park after my lunch break. And I just sat there. In the grass. I sat there to think.
I watched as a few ducks drifted across a pond nearby, spontaneously dunking their necks into the water for food which made sparkly little splashes in the gray of the water. A beautiful Hispanic woman strolled by with a bright eyed baby and a pudgy toddler bouncing behind. She looked at peace, taking a walk with her babies in the sunshine of a Wednesday afternoon. Across the park I spotted a lone man tucked into the warmth of a bed of grass as he napped with a baseball cap over his face to shield the sun. I didn’t know who he was. I didn’t need to. At the very least I knew he was a person comfortable and free enough to lay down in a patch of grass in the middle of the day to take a nap.
And then there were leaves…
If you take just 60 seconds out of your day to look at leaves on the grass, I promise you’ll find yourself in a whimsical daydream or moment of self hypnosis.
You don’t need drugs. Just go outside.
Today was not a snow day. I didn’t get to spend all day inside with movies and pancakes and my husband. But I did find a small moment at the park to be comparable in it’s ability to help me slow down and just sit and think.
Maybe someday I’ll wake up with a “tweet” from Jim Cantore about a snowstorm in my city and have my first real ‘snow day.’ I’m sure it will be a novelty joy when it happens. But it won’t be tomorrow.
So instead of thinking about or wishing for a ‘snow day’ I’ll stop by a park and feel the organic, present happiness of ducks splashing in a pond and a man napping in the middle of the workday beneath the sun. It won’t be a ‘snow day’ but a ‘slow day’ and I’ll cherish it all the more.