It’s snowing! As I write this, a lovely blanket of white is draped over everything. My daughter Leslie and I are making the most of it. This morning, we went out and built a little snowman and snow fort (pictured) and then had a snowball fight (Leslie won, because she said so). We walked over to Hunan Café at Hunters Woods for a delicious lunch. Later this afternoon, we are going to test out the sledding run (it seems like it’s not the best sledding snow, but we’re going to give it a run).
I’ll admit it: When it comes to snow, I’m a big kid. I love it and root for every snowstorm that comes our way. It’s been a rough last couple of years for snow lovers like me, and so when we heard that Snowquester was coming, Leslie and I pulled out all the stops. We wore our pajamas inside out, we put a spoon under our pillows, we did the snow dance. And it paid off!
I’ve always been a huge fan of snow. Less than a month after I was born, Reston was hit with the Blizzard of ’79, which dumped 27 inches of snow, and I’ve been
hooked on it ever since. My sister got her first taste of local fame when she was about 5 thanks to snow: she was shown on the front page of the Reston Times sledding down a hill near our house. (These day,s she lives in New Hampshire, where she has all the snow she could want and more.)
As we got older, we had our snow-day routine: we’d shovel our walk and that of our elderly neighbors, and then we’d hit the slopes. If my friends and I were feeling really adventurous, we’d head over to King Kong Hill at Hidden Creek, where we could really get flying (as long as you stayed out of the creek at the bottom of the hill). Then once we got too cold and/or wet, it was back to the house for hot chocolate and warming up under an afghan. I loved it every time. Even during my junior year of high school, when the Blizzard of ’96 cost us so many school days that we had to tack an extra half-hour onto each day to make up for lost time, it was worth it.
I understand that for many adults, snow is a hassle rather than a delight. It requires tiresome shoveling, snarls the commute, forces activities to be canceled, and generally throws a monkey wrench into our busy lives. (Even I have been rooting for the storm not to be too bad, so that our Citizen of the Year ceremony on Thursday will not need to be rescheduled.) If the snow is heavy enough, it can cause downed trees and power outages. And thanks to the advent of telecommuting, the snow may not even mean a day off for office workers; instead, you’re working from home, with your kids (who do have the day off) bouncing off the walls in the next room. Snow becomes less fun and more of a burden.
But I think that snowstorms are a good thing, even if you don’t share my enthusiasm for sledding and snowball fights. For one thing, it tends to bring out the Good Samaritan in us and gets us to know our neighbors a little better. I really enjoyed helping my neighbors free their snowbound cars during the President’s Day Blizzard of 2003 and Snowmageddon a couple years ago.
Shoveling the roads and sidewalks in a neighborhood, especially during a real blizzard, isn’t a one-person effort; it takes many neighbors working together. It’s all too easy in this day and age to get wrapped up in our own lives, and remain isolated from our neighbors. A snowstorm changes the equation, and reminds us that we really do live in a community.
Also, I appreciate the way snow forces us to slow down, even for a little while. We’re so busy, with jobs and families and other activities, running from one thing to the next with barely a chance to breathe sometimes. I’m as guilty of this as anyone. RCA has been extremely active lately, between our work on the Wiehle Metro station and the bus service and planning for Citizen of the Year, along with so many other things. Sometimes I feel like I’m just running from one meeting to the next. Being nonstop busy like that is the modern condition, and some people
wear that busy-ness like a badge of honor. But I believe it’s important to slow down once in a while too. Breaking out of the usual routine for a day is very welcome. It also helps me remember that whatever I’m up to, however important it seems, there are always bigger forces at work. The world can survive without us going full tilt for a day.
I’m proud to serve the citizens of Reston, and I will continue working hard for you on all the issues I mentioned and more. Not today, though; I’m booked. My daughter and I are going sledding.
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One final reminder: our Citizen of the Year ceremony honoring Cate Fulkerson is still on for tomorrow, March 7th at 7:30 PM at the Community Room at RCC Hunters Woods. Hope to see you there!