Saturday, January 29, 2005

Magic Snow

Reading of Jackie's snow days and her descriptions of magical Macerata under snow, I felt the same as I did a couple weeks ago when Northern Indiana got loads of the white stuff and the 3-6 inches they promised Indianapolis turned into barely a dusting.

It's not jealously, really, just a sort of left-out-ness. Reading about Italian snow storms and watching the Hoosier forecasters splash multi-colored maps across the screen, I so wanted to look out my window and see the same beautiful, white flakes falling. There's a connection with the weather, especially when the view of the cold outside makes the warmth from inside so wonderfully comforting.

So I finished Jackie's blog entry and remembered snow days and Macerata under a white blanket and the view from my Indy apartment when downtown looks hazy through the drifting flakes...when I noticed that the crevices of the tiled roof outside were all outlined in white. It's snowing! here! now! A hug from Father Winter to connect us once again.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Snow Days

Yesterday morning, I woke up to the sight of snow. It was the first signficant snow fall of the year in Macerata, and the city was covered in a thick layer of white, as snow flakes collapsed gracefully to the ground. I prepared for work like normal, prepared snow boots for the walk up to the city center, and looked over at Antonello who was eating his breakfast. "You know, there might be no school today," he said casually.

A smile came to my face. I had forgotten about snow days. The thought of growing up in Indianapolis, waiting eagerly for the announcement of school cancellations on the radio came back to me like a lost dream. "How would I know if school were cancelled?" I asked him. He shrugged, saying he hadn't heard anything about it on the radio. I quickly grabbed the phone book and called into school.

"Um, due to the snow, has school been cancelled by chance?" I asked, trying to mimic the voice of a concerned parent (and not an eager teacher).

"No! We're open!" came the enthusiastic reply. I sighed, grumbled a quick thank you, and hung up the phone. There was a steep hill of snow ahead of me, and forty five minutes to get to work. Without saying another word, I finished getting ready and headed off to school.

The first snow fall of winter is always the best one, and, walking up to the city center, seeing the duomo reaching through the haze with its roof of snow, looking out onto a completely white countryside where everything still seemed untouched, I stopped periodically to snap photos. The walk to school wasn't as cold as I thought it would be, and my boots conquered the hill without any problem. Everywhere in town was a photograph, with white streets spilling into snowy piazzas, people bundled up in hats and scarves and gloves. I took my time walking to class, savoring the sparks of snow melting on my cheeks. Winter had come at last.

Classes went by quickly, with only half the school showing up (many people had simply not come in on account of the snow), and every once in a while the students would run to the window and stare out at the increasing number of falling snow flakes. Rumors that school would be cancelled the next day hummed around, and keeping the class somewhat organized seemed hopeless. By my last class, the normally calm and pleasant students had turned into a jungle of wannabe polar bears, itching to play in the snow.

As the school day ended, an announcement came in the form of a letter from the mayor: the following two days (Wednesday and Thursday) would be snow days. The students screamed and cheered, and the teachers covered their ears, smiling. Students left the school in a rush, and by the time I made it out the door, kids were crowded outside, throwing snowballs and taking over the once-quiet streets. I slid away past the sounds of children playing and walked down a quiet street toward home. In the distance, Piazza Mazzini's brown cobblestones were replaced by snowy drifts, wooden benches piled with layers of white. I stopped walking for a minute and smiled. It was the most charming winter morning of the year, and I had the next two days off of work. I said a thousand thank yous and walked on.