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QUINTESSENCE

Snow Day

If you think this is a big snow storm, you're right.
- my son, manning the snowblower for third time that afternoon

Nature is an amazing leveler: all our industrious and self-generated activities come to a standstill in the midst of a snow cloud of enormous proportions swirling over our heads. Six inches in as many hours, on top of yesterday's and ahead of tomorrow. And this is nothing compared to the dump of white blowing across the dormant wheat fields of the Palouse...

Winter has a way of putting the world on pause. Travel becomes challenging. We man the snow shovels, check candles. Power goes out, silencing our smart phones, e-readers and iPads; the work force trickles home sliding down the roads, the kids wake to a day off school. All caution and worry aside, I love these days. It was perfectly silent when I awoke this morning, the quiet of a thick blanket of snow. Hours later the neighbors were out blowing snow, kids shrieking in the streets with sleds...a chance to say hello and how are you. A great moment for catching up with ourselves - from sleep to those power-off activities like reading and letter writing. The letter carrier trundled by, chains chunking the snow around his wheel wells as he waved cheerily. Yes, not even snow stops the US Postal Service.

I plan spending my day beside a cozy fire, baking bread and making soup, reading a favorite book. Thank you, nature, for a snow day.

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