Cancel school?

When I stepped off Carina at five to nine on Thursday morning to walk the girls to school, I thought to myself, ‘If I didn’t know better, I’d think there’s snow in that sky’. The clear sky of the coldest night so far had given way to a warmer morning with flat featureless grey cloud cover.

We were almost at the school gate when it started to snow. I was walking from the direction of the river with my girls, Charo was slightly in front of me with her daughters, her sister Macu was coming from another direction with her son, and Charo’s brother-in-law, Reuben, was getting out of his car with his son and daughter. The realisation that it was snowing hit all four of us simultaneously and we all looked at each other, at the snow and then at our children. ‘¿Está nevando realmente?’ ‘It is really snowing?’ Macu asked. She and her sister, both women in their thirties, hugged each other and laughed like children, and I had a huge and almost painful grin on my face, as we and our children all starting talking at once, exuberant in the presence of such a rare meteorological event.

In the school playground, ten-year old Alejandro ran around, calling out ‘It’s snowing. Cancel school, cancel school’. Parents, teachers and children were all in the playground. Even the 13-year olds, who start school half an hour earlier than everyone else, had abandoned lessons and were outside, the boys self-conscious with their hands dug deep into their trouser pockets, the girls twirling in the snow, laughing and chattering.

Adults and children were enraptured, the children with hands and tongues outstretched to catch snowflakes, gazing at snow on each others’ hair or jackets, laughing as it landed on the bald head of Fran, the music teacher. Parents took photos of their children and themselves, and everyone laughed and talked at once in a frenzy of excitement. Even the self-conscious teenage boys grinned.

The snow lasted all of three minutes. But those were three minutes of sheer abandoned joy in the presence of such an unexpected and rare treat.


5 thoughts on “Cancel school?

  1. Ha, ha!! Different from Canada, huh?! One part of you must have really been chuckling when you remembered your days in Arviat winters!!

  2. Ah, lovely! Even coming from England to Switzerland as an 8-yr old, I remember being surprised that first winter when a newly-arrived classmate from Bangladesh had never seen snow before and stood wonderingly at the window the first time snow began to fall… I suppose we’d been lucky in the previous winter of ’71/’72 that we’d had enough snow in middle England to go sledging and I probably felt slightly superior lol This winter, when the first snow fell, I was soon out building a snowman with my grandson 🙂

    • It was amazing here, because most of the adults had never seen snow before, unless they had been to the Sierra Nevada. My sister, who is a notoriously late sleeper on her days off has a rule….her partner (an early riser) is only allowed to wake her up early in two circumstances – if it’s snowing, or if a member of the royal family has died!! (Neither of which happens very often) My weird sister!!!

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