A Sochi of our own
Snow days bring welcome forced respite
“This weekend was so refreshing because it was a break every student, faculty and staff member was required to take without a choice, without a say and without a fight. On top of that, we were forced to take it all together at the same time — and it was unprecedented.”
Though it’s been almost a full workweek of regularity here on Grounds after the snowstorm, I still found myself sleeping through my Tuesday, dozing off in Alderman Café on Wednesday and crawling into bed — where I sit right now — by a ripe 10:30 p.m. Last week threw us a curveball and whether we are ready for it or not, it’s already the weekend again. I’m not sure how that happened, either.
I have no way of confirming this, but I think this week was a little off for everyone. I can’t remember the last time there were two snow days in a row at the University. Surprisingly, though, last weekend was beyond perfect, and I don’t think anybody — besides a couple of professors with their panties in a bunch — would have had it any other way. We got our own taste of Sochi.
At the risk of sounding like a hedonist, I’ll admit I went out five consecutive nights last week — and I don’t even like snow. Wednesday night, when the blizzard started, was visually pleasing, and Thursday was entertaining as intoxicated people ran around slipping — but, more than that, I enjoyed what the snow represented: a rupture from regular life, a forced break from reality. When you’re a fourth-year, regular life and reality are your biggest problems. This is practically the best thing we could have asked for, right?
Certainly everyone takes time off now and then — there’s the evening you watch Netflix in bed instead of reading, the Saturday you go to a vineyard instead of the library and the weeknight you spend hours at a U.Va. basketball game. That’s fine, but this weekend was so refreshing because it was a break every student, faculty and staff member was required to take without a choice, without a say and without a fight. On top of that, we were forced to take it all together at the same time — and it was unprecedented.
Spring break arrives in just a few weeks, but there will be professors who set exams and papers due the day we get back. This leaves spring-breakers at a disadvantage — some may be toasting away on a Mexican coast, while others are studying in Alderman for an exam. It’s a break, but not everyone takes the break like they did this weekend.
The difference is the planning. The premeditated aspect changes things dramatically.
The weather this week is beautifully blooming into spring. The sky is blue as ever, and although the trees may still be barren, I can feel their porous limbs soaking up the bright sunshine as are mine. I hope the snowstorm was destiny’s way of unleashing us from winter’s shackles, ending it with a bang, hitting us right at the breaking point of a weekend and making for a memorable — albeit slippery — four days.
Being outside today felt so much like a spring day, I couldn’t help but write about it. The snow is no longer wanted, and it’s melting away little by little, taking with it the remnants of winter. The puddles on the Lawn are soaking into the ground, preparing it for the extra green grass which will soon come.
So maybe I haven’t checked the forecast for next week — but I’m hopeful. Even if it does get cold again, these few days have foreshadowed the breathtaking Charlottesville season that is to come. Springtime is here.
I am starting to feel a tension within myself. Wishing for the future is something I’ve tried so hard to avoid this semester. Another weekend that passes is another weekend as a University student I no longer have and another weekend closer to Final Exercises. But I think we are collectively done with the cold, collectively done with sweater and boot weather, collectively done with the freezing temperatures and collectively ready for warmth.
Valerie’s column runs biweekly Fridays. She can be reached at email@example.com.