Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Today I’m home for a snow day, snowed into our house in the woods and surrounded by little more than silence and the loveliness of the scene outside, and I’m wondering whether I could call some kind of snow day now and then in English class. Today is a day for me to do nothing that’s necessary, pressing, or crucial, and couldn’t my students occasionally use this kind of day (or at least a few moments) in the midst of earnestly studying Dickens and the procedures for writing scholarly essays? I’m just now settling into a refreshing state of stillness as I watch the snowstorm sweeping around the house, and don’t my often-frantic students need this sort of respite now and then? I’m sure they have plenty of restful times outside of school, but what’s wrong with calling an occasional English class snow day, or snow moment, right in the center of a lesson? Emerson described a blizzard as “a tumultuous privacy of storm”, and in the often-stormy school lives of the students, perhaps I can set aside a few moments for that kind of time alone right in my small classroom. I can picture myself saying, as we’re traipsing through some symbolism in a Wallace Stevens poem, “Stop! Our minds are too stormy. I’m calling a snow moment”, at which point we all sit silently around the reassuring wood stoves in our minds, settling ourselves, doing nothing necessary for sixty undisturbed seconds.

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