Earlier this month I faced an unexpected snow day, bookless. For a book lover, there is nothing worse. The books on my stack were all read, or as read as they were ever going to be, and I was anxiously awaiting Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls by Dr. Lisa Damour for my educational reading, which was on its way, along with a new work of fiction.
I was still a little under the weather myself after my dancing performance and combined with the messy wintry mix, a trip to The Bookplate was not in the cards. What was I going to do home alone all day? Jim had left early in the mess for a meeting in Baltimore, so I was left with lots of wood for a fire and lots of snacks, but sadly, no book to tackle.
Trust me, I can shop online with the best of them, especially from Thanksgiving until Christmas. I can interact with my iPhone checking all of my social media platforms all day, or binge watch Friends, Modern Family, or a Netflix series. On this day, however, something was just not right.
I realized what it was late in the morning when I looked outside. It was a rather snowless snow day – which, seriously, takes all the fun out of having the day off from school. Making a decision on weather-related delays or closings is one of the worst parts of being a Head of School. For starters, the decisions are made at around 5:00 in the morning. Everything looks ominous in the dark! I always feel bad waking Kent School employees who must communicate whatever the message needs to be, or check on the status of campus, all well before we have each had our morning coffee. And, regardless of the decision, someone is unhappy.
On a true snow day, with whiteness blanketing the landscape, I always retreat into the Robert Frost poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. My favorite line being: The only other sound’s the sweep of easy wind and downy flake. The calmness and simple beauty evidenced in that line always gives me pause. On the Eastern Shore, I appreciate the snow much more so, as it magically transforms the Chester River and nearby farmlands to breathtaking works of art.
Meteorologist Justin Berk is at Kent School today. It is a re-schedule of an assembly he was supposed to do in the fall on hurricanes, to coordinate with a Middle School earth science unit. But, now I am thrilled to welcome him during snow season. For those of you who follow Justin online, his Faith in the Flakes (FITF) is legendary. In his words, “I have a little obsession with snow, but my love of weather extends to all seasons.” Justin and his wife Shannon created a non-profit, Just In Power Kids, to empower children confronting cancer by partnering with holistic practitioners to provide free care. Proceeds from Snowstix, of which every Kent School classroom has one, or honorariums for school assemblies go to their incredible and personal cause. Kent School is pleased to support Just In Power Kids and Justin Berk. We learned everything we need to know about snow today, taught by a snow lover. His FITF is contagious.
Fingers crossed for one really snowy snow day with no ice (and a good book) before winter’s end.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Nancy Mugele is the Head of School at Kent School in Chestertown, a member of the Board of Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s, a member of the Board of Chesapeake Charities, and a member of the Education Committee of Sultana Education Foundation.