For an unprecedented second day in a row school was canceled yesterday due to cold weather. This just doesn’t happen in Minnesota. But wind chills were in the -60 degrees range in the Twin Cities on Monday, with actual air temperatures in the mid-20’s below zero. And yesterday wasn’t much better.
I absolutely see the point in protecting children standing at a bus stop from frostbite, especially since fossil fuels tend to turn to sledge at those temperatures and maybe that bus might not arrive at all.
But . . .
My children were cooped up inside for days because this past weekend was also way below zero. Cabin fever set in and it was real.
So we made brownies and homemade bath salts. We watched movies and my girls did Just Dance! athons—for hours. Yet last night at dinner my son admitted he’s so ready to get back to school, not just to see his friends, which is to be expected after more than two weeks of hanging with his 9 and 10 year old sisters, but to work on projects and get back to normal.
Yep, it must be a really long couple of weeks if my kids aren’t thrilled to have another day off from school!
And yet. . .
I liked the constrictions this cold weather put on my family, even as I, too, was looking forward to this morning when the house would be quiet once more. This severe cold weather meant we were together, really together, not just existing in the same house. We ate and talked about college and music. Bickering was sometimes heard—but in the end, this spell of cold weather was a gift.
A sliver of time where the kids and I just hung out together.
I recognize I’m privileged to view it this way. Our furnaces were checked out thoroughly this year and we have money to pay our heat bills. And I’m really grateful we finally replaced our leaky 62-year-old windows this summer. Because those heating bills would be huge if we hadn’t!
What lingers for me, though, out of this experience is just how oblivious we all are to our own lives. It takes an extreme weather event like Arctic air mass settling in for a long visit to yank our attention off our smart phones and force us to stop being so busy and just “be.”
In my small neck of the woods, for example, I rarely see someone just walking their dog. Nearly everyone is also yakking on their phone, texting messages, or stuffing their ears shut with music. These folks are oblivious to their surroundings, their pets and their own safety. And that’s the norm. Everywhere you look, people are constantly wired. Someone just sitting still, doing “nothing” is considered weird or suspicious.
So, go figure.
I’m actually a little sad the enforced lockdown is over.
Hey, maybe back to normal isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.