A New England Snow Day This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 7, 2011
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September fades into October; leaves change from green to red to brown and begin to fall. Favorite shorts and tank tops make their way into storage as gloves and scarves become the new accessories. Winter has come. For some, its wonders are the best time of the year, while others start a countdown to summer as soon as the temperature drops below 60. Everyone has a different reaction to winter, just like every region has different type of winter. Some see multiple feet of snow while others have a dusting every now and again. Then there are those states that never know what they are going to get.

I live in one of those crazy New England states that gets every type of winter weather imaginable. Nor'easters roll through dumping two or three feet, covering everything in a shimmering white blanket. Weather men forecast huge snowstorms that turn out to be no more than sleet and freezing rain, due to unpredictable temperature changes. Yet, no matter what kind of messy winter storms we get – whether it's a winter wonderland or a dull gray slush – winter traditions can brighten anyone's mood.

When the weather reports show a storm on the way, the silly superstitions start to resurface. We place wooden spoons under our pillows, flush ice down the toilet, and wear our PJs inside out – anything to help our wish for snow come true. These small acts may sound silly, but when you wake up to a school cancellation or delay, you start believing these superstitions work.

Waking up to several feet of snow is every kid's dream. The roads are covered, and the plows are passing by every hour trying to keep up. School is closed and the adventures are just beginning. You place a bowl outside and watch it fill, already tasting the syrup on snow. You dig out all your winter clothes and extra pairs of gloves, rushing to join the neighborhood kids already building snow forts. Snowballs fly from one side of the street to the other, the girls with a large stockpile, and the boys pegging people with exceptional accuracy. Fights last for hours, with kids coming and going, taking a break when their mothers call them in for chicken noodle soup.

On these snow days, every yard has a snowman and snow angels by the end of the day. The dryer is filled with wet clothes, and children lie ­exhausted on the couch by early evening. These days don't happen everywhere, they're unique to towns with the right weather and safe neighborhoods to let children turn the streets into playgrounds.

Although winters in New England can bring disappointment as well as joy, rituals of winter bring people together no matter what their feelings are. We bundle up before heading out, shovels in hand ready to clear paths for walking and driving. Snow removal is easily done with a truck and plow, but when you live in a small town, you don't need to pay a stranger to clear your driveway. Friends, families, and neighbors come together to help each other dig out. You see teenagers giving up part of their snow day to shovel for elderly neighbors. I am lucky to live in a neighborhood where this happens every snowstorm.

Even when the temperature changes and the forecasted foot of snow turns into sleet and slush, our spirits never droop. A snow day without snow just means a day of fun inside. You stay in pajamas and sweat pants, bundled up on the couch. The Disney classics get dusted off, and friends laugh and reminisce about movies they haven't seen in years. Board games are dragged out of closets, and the directions read as friends argue about who actually remembers how to play. The worst weather still has its benefits; there is always something to do on a dull winter day.

There is nothing more relaxing than walking down quiet streets at night during a snowstorm. Living a half a mile from the center of my town allows us to enjoy the beauty of the snow as we go to town. We know the only traffic will be plows and slow-moving cars, so we relax and soak up the winter wonderland. I can't remember a winter when we haven't enjoyed this tradition. As a little girl, my brother pulled me in a sled, being sure to bump me over all the snow banks, making me scream and giggle. As we've grown older, the tradition of walking to town as a family remains, though I am too big to be pulled in a sled. We have snowball fights and enjoy dessert at a favorite restaurant, watching the snow fall.

No matter what type of winter weather we comes to our small New England town – tons of snow or sleet and slush – winter traditions continue. Although at times I am one of those kids who count down the days 'til summer vacation, I would never dream of a season passing without seeing my town covered in a white blanket. I look forward to one day share my memories and traditions with my kids so they too can experience the wonders of a New England winter.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Joyce said...
Jan. 7, 2012 at 1:22 am
Oh and another thing...your article really made me felt I was place in a New England snow day. I love the magic you sprinkled in your article, the magic of a snowy day and its effects on people.
Joyce said...
Jan. 6, 2012 at 7:25 pm
This is quite a beautiful piece of writing, attributing to the quite majestic season of winter. I live in Southern California where it never snows. I wish someday I can experience a winter like this!
selenagfan said...
Nov. 22, 2011 at 7:54 pm
Great Article! Some people don't know that New England is in the Unitied States though. It's sad, but I'm from there and I know people that are like, "Yeah, New England is somewhere near England."
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