Andrea Schmid '17 Contributing Writer
Everywhere on the news, warnings that the potentially historic snowstorm Juno was going to wreak havoc across New England clearly influenced decision-making on all levels of government, from major New England state officials to Smith College. It explains why our much-anticipated snow day was announced as early as Monday afternoon, without any real knowledge of how the storm was going to affect our area. While it is now clear that our niche in western Massachusetts was certainly not a major victim of Juno’s wrath, it is safe to say that students did not take the now-evidently premature decision to shut down the college on the second day of the semester poorly.
I awoke Tuesday morning at around 10 o’clock with a knock on the door. It was my friend Becca, who – a true Bostonian – was hugely disappointed at the weak turnout of the apparently “historic” blizzard. As a Floridian, any amount of snow impresses me; however, I did agree with her this time. I had imagined, and to an extent hoped, for a monumental amount of snow.
After brunch, a group of friends and I headed towards Paradise Pond. Our initial plan was to walk on the frozen pond, but we bumped into a group of eager first-years who had been sledding with garbage bags down the hills. They offered us four bags and we happily accepted them. I had never sledded before, so the fact that my first time involved me stepping into a plastic bag and sliding down the hills like a potato sack did not make a difference to me. Several of my friends had been sledding on a particular hill facing Paradise Pond that had an edge with a few thorn bushes. No one yet had sled down with enough force to go over, and of course I was the lucky one who did. Much to my friends’ amusement, so strong was my force that I slid straight through the bushes so that I was almost at pond level when I finally stopped.
The trail behind Paradise Pond was probably the most beautiful. It’s stunning in every season, but after the snowfall it looked crisp and bright. The trees looked like incredibly tall, black-and-white sculptures as their beautiful bark contrasted with the snow. In a strange way, I think all of us felt safe and awed by the scenery. We weren’t the only ones. Other Smithies and visitors passed us with their children and dogs. In the beginning of our small expedition, we bumped into my French advisor Professor Mehammed Mack, who was serenely walking the opposite way with headphones on. My friend told him how excited she was to see the geometric cubes of ice that formed across the frozen river, which did turn out to be fascinating. We tried to make sense of why and how water froze into such perfectly geometric forms. Throughout the trail, children were sledding in the woods. Several cross-country skiers passed us. Everyone seemed to feel the same joy and fearlessness that we did.
While it was clear that a lot of people made their snow day an outdoorsy one, most of my friends in and outside of Smith reported having spent their Tuesdays indoors, watching movies or binging on their favorite series. A few good eggs told me they spent it getting ahead on work and readings that their Monday classes had already given out. Overreaction or not, I have yet to hear a complaint of the unexpected snow holiday (and the second one) from my fellow Smithies. In the future, I am sure students will applaud similar overreactions across New England.