It started snowing last night – just enough to give us a fair covering this morning. Both my girls were beyond excited at the prospect of school runs on the sledge. We duly saddled up with sheepskin and my trusty wooden sledge and I pulled my little one up the hill.
When we made our triumphant entry to the preschool yard, I was struck as I often am by how much the snow disrupts people’s lives: I sometimes feel like I’m the only mama who doesn’t dread our snowy February days! I was deep in thought on the way home, thinking about why it must feel so disruptive to the many, many mamas and papas who have to drive their families to school before they themselves drive to work.
I guess gridlocked, slushy streets would be a hindrance to daily life. And I guess the reason why we always seem to take the regular winter snows in our stride is because we’ve chosen to work and school our children withing walking distance of home. It wasn’t always going to be so: we had a place at a Steiner school an hour’s drive away, but decided that actually we all really valued being able to walk to and from school. We didn’t want to depend on a car, we didn’t want to add that pressure to daily life.
There’s something about the psycho-geography of walking a school run regularly, of walking the route to market every other week, of knowing the three different shortcuts for three different moods. It has embedded our family into the community giving us senses of place, season and community. Yes, it would have been great to educate our girls at the school of our choice, but not at the price of that two hours of daily driving. We’ve also had to make life good in a house that didn’t really work for us. So sacrifices have been made, but they have been so worth it – there is strength in our daily walk to school, in being part of that local landscape even if only because when the snows come (as they do every year) we can enjoy the magical transformation of the world. Go get some fun in the snow!