Sometimes I meet aspiring journalists at Pellissippi State where I spend part of the day advising students. I tell them to double major. Study journalism, but pick something else in the sciences (including computer science), technology or business. Something, says Jenna Goudreau, “wildly different” to diversify yourself.
I live in East Tennessee, but I don’t complain about pollen and allergies. And here’s why: I wasn’t affected until this week. Sneezing and headaches. Check. Sore throat. Yep. Itchy, watery eyes. Uh-huh.
It hit me this week after a long weekend of mowing and brush clearing. So, I’m wondering if this year is different from previous years.
It’s not yet 7 a.m. and I’m sitting in the dinning room looking out the window at the snow. A heap of it. I have no idea how much fell, only that it started yesterday afternoon and kept going until late evening. It’s gorgeous and everything is closed today.
The best part about a snow day, this one in particular, is the early morning coffee and the time I’m getting with my newborn daughter. She’s snoozing right now, and the world outside is quiet.
I’ve turned on the TV a couple of times (been up since 4 a.m.), but I always get the same thing. Weather maps and forecasters, and reporters who put their boots in the snow to show you how deep it is. They say it’ll clear up by Friday and then spring will probably be on its way. I suppose it’s time, but I do enjoy the winter. I miss it, especially in August.
When I get some daylight, I’m going to walk the dogs. Or they’re going to walk me. People love to slow down and say that to me as my dogs, both about 50 pounds each and powerful, yank me along Tapoco Avenue. “Are you walking those dogs, or are they walking you?” As if my poor dog training needs underscoring. But I won’t see many of those ride side hecklers today. Not if I get out there before noon.
A good friend of mine once called me a minimalist because I’d reduced my bedroom to a bed and small stereo. I put my clothes and books in the closet. He said the next step was for me to install a strap in the corner and simply sleep standing up, the strap my only support and possession in sight.
I never went as far as Joshua Fields Millburn went, though.
A lot of people want to write and publish a novel. Vince Vawter, a former News Sentinel editor and Louisville author, went the extra step of winning a Newbery Honor Award for his coming-of-age novel, “Paperboy”.
The story made today’s issue of The Daily Times and was written by a staff member who has penned plenty of local author stories, Melanie Tucker.
I looked up Vawter’s website after reading his story and found the post on his home page (“Oh No, Here Comes Another Writing Expert) humble and humorous.
The snow shut everything down today. (136 closures at last count on WBIR.com). Tapoco Avenue glistened with icy sludge at around noon today, and I rejoiced. If the city streets looked slick then the county roads would be sheets of ice. No weather forecaster needed to tell me what the rest of the Tennessee Valley and Great Smoky Mountains would look like.
We get a good snow (4-6 inches) about every two or three years in East Tennessee. I like the snow. The crisp, cold air comforts me. The sound of snow crunching under my shoes makes me think of elementary school and snow ball fights and sopping wet boots. My dogs love this weather. This morning, they ran circles in the yard, kicking up snow and creating a whirl of fine powder that hovered and faded in the sun.
Best of all, the snow slows things down. Schools close. City halls shuts its doors, just for the day. For the moment, you are forced to linger around the house or go to work and move at half speed. We need a break, more than we realize.
I like the break in routine. I look forward to it. I watched far too much TV and ate about half a coffee cake. I managed to find time to seal the windows upstairs. A bunch of lady bugs were sneaking in, covering the window and climbing into the shade. This had been happening for some time, days it seemed. Their spotted orange corpses littered the corners of the room. After that short burst of work, I did nothing at all and relished it.