The Twenty-Degree Picnic, Postscript

On top of Wednesday’s night’s snow, another half inch or so fell Friday afternoon so the kids had an early dismissal just a day after a two-hour delay in what was only supposed to be a three-day week anyway. Megan came over after the abbreviated school day and I read The Subtle Knife to Noah while she and June played.  Every now and then I glanced up from the book to watch the fat, lazy flakes drifting from the sky. While we were reading Sasha called and invited Noah to go sledding, and he went, coming home laden with homemade pumpkin chocolate-chip cookies from Sasha’s mom.  Thanks, Sarah!

Saturday we were faced with an unaccustomed block of free time because gymnastics is over, and it was a sunny, sparkly, snow-covered morning.  Temperatures were supposed to rise into the mid-thirties, which by now was seeming almost warm, so we bundled everyone up into snow clothes and headed for Brookside Gardens where we tromped around in the snow, climbed up into the tree house, wondered what animal left the tracks that crossed the frozen pond, tried to clear our minds as the sign at the Labyrinth instructed (admittedly with less than 100% success), explored the tea house, talked about the 2002 sniper attacks at the memorial for their victims, and warmed up in the sweet-smelling conservatory where birds of paradise and star fruit and other exotic plants grew.

As it happens, June could not wait for the crocuses to bloom down by the creek to have a winter picnic.  On Sunday she asked Beth if they could have one, and Beth said yes, so they took bread and butter and oranges and ate them down at the creekside picnic table that afternoon.  Not a twenty-degree picnic, more like a thirty-five degree one, but even so they didn’t linger.  I planned to mop the kitchen floor while they were out of the house and they were back before I even finished sweeping. Beth says the snow was mostly melted by then, even though it’s shady down there.

There was a pre-dawn ice storm this morning, and thus another two-hour delay.  It wasn’t the pretty kind of ice storm either, with the tree branches and bushes and fences and walls all glazed and shiny, but the kind that coats the sidewalks with a layer of gritty, slippery ice pellets that dissolve into slush.  I walked June to a different, further bus stop than usual because I had an errand in that direction and by the time we set out around 10:10 it was all but melted.

The cold snap is over, too. It was around 40 degrees and rainy today and tomorrow we return to a couple days of freakishly warm temperatures (60 degrees tomorrow! 68 on Wednesday!).  It was nice to have a little winter weather, even with the disruptions it entailed. I was glad for Beth especially, because she loves snow about as much as I love the beach.  I think we made the most of it, and as ready as I am to settle back into a predictable school and work schedule, I wouldn’t mind seeing the snow fly again at least once before the winter’s over.