Snow Day



It’s a snow day!!! Three exclamation points can hardly express my jubilation at the prospect of an unexpected day off! Oh, there were rumors and there were whisperings among the students of Brentwood High, but no one even imagined such a wonderful winter wonderland would come to fruition (or accumulation)!

I’ll admit that half an inch is a rather meager amount of icy wonderfulness, but I think I’ll speak for my fellow pupils enslaved by the desk and the bell that any amount of frozen ice particles that get our chief communications director Carol Birdsong to call is enough for me! Oh sweet Carol, your mellifluous voice declaring school is not in is like balm for the blistering mind of the weary pre-midterms brain! May the poets sing of the lovely Carol freeing us from the bondage of Algebra and Double Replacement Reactions for eons to come!

Anyway, a snow day is a welcome respite for any student floundering in the vast ocean of review packets, essay questions, and textbook passages that seem to accumulate higher and faster than the snow on the ground during the last lap before winter break. Not that I’ll be spending the day in unrestrained slumber (like I would if it was a preplanned break). No, a day off of school really means a day to get as much homework done as possible in a desperate attempt to claw my way out of the quicksand of deadlines threatening to drown me.


But the great thing about snow days is that I can work at my own pace! I can desperately scribble down the last entries in my composition book for English and finish my stoichiometric reaction worksheet for Chemistry. I can finally have time to print out my review questions for US History and start looking up Ancient Sumerian relief sculptures for Art History.


In short, I finally have time to be a good student who gets things in before deadline rather than a mediocre one who barely pastes everything together to turn in the second before the clock strikes late. When I don’t have to rush out the door by 6:30, I can read a whole chapter of the bible instead. I can finish my homework by 10 in the morning, and go till noon making cookies for friends and family. I can then spend my afternoon making my Christmas gifts and writing thank you cards and still have time left to watch a documentary on wolves and write a post for my blog, and the amazing thing is I can do it all in my cozy red snowman pajamas.

I have a day of freedom to work and to play, to do learning, a thing I love, in peace, quiet, and independence. I can write freely and with joy undiluted because I can be myself without the mask of uncertainty and insecurity that often creeps across my face when I’m at school. I haven’t written for my blog in an entire month because I had no day of freedom to enjoy such luxuries as time.My entire soul feels as if it has been freed, if just for a day, to live and to be myself. Even though I could have slept in today till noon, I got up at 6:30 when my dad came and told me the wonderful news because I wanted to experience every drop of this wonderful freedom, to savor and enjoy it like a fine meal.

I want relish in these wonderful days of liberation because I know my time for them is very short. I am sixteen now. In only a short year and a half I will be eighteen. My time to revel in the snow and be a child are quickly evaporating before my very eyes and each minute that passes is a minute I cannot get back.

I don’t want to live my life asleep, be it a metaphorical slumber or a physical one. I don’t want to have a single day wasted. Even though I will have to go back to school tomorrow, I want to make that experience one I can be proud of. If I look back on this day, today, I want to know that everything I did was for the Glory of God and the happiness of others.

I want to be the best student, the best daughter, the best friend each and every day I live, snow day or otherwise. I want to love boundlessly and live sacrificially, like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, who Ms. Gwen taught us about last Saturday morning as an example of such virtues.

Time is short and the years melt away like the snow in the Tennessee sun. If today were the last day of my life, then I’d make it wonderful.

Gun Powder

The Gun Range

The Paper Man

Gunpowder reeks in a way you can taste, like you are sucking on an acrid piece of burning chalk. The smell slithers into your brain through the nostrils and the mouth, coursing through veins like venom. I was frozen, silent and completely still, clutching the smoking revolver in my shaking hands as I stared in horror at the dime sized hole I had blown through the skull of the paper man on the wall.

“Great shot!” My father exclaimed with a proud grin, beaming to his friends as I carefully rested the smoldering weapon on the counter stained with dark lines of powder. “You’re a natural!”

I was silent as I looked at my hands, stained with black smudges as the stench crept into my eyes and into my clothes, covering everything in its caustic odor.

“How does it feel, Maddie?” My father’s friend asked as he casually plucked up the Colt Python and pushed six more bullets into the shiny cylinder with a rattle. “It feels good doesn’t it?”

I nodded my head, but my heart was pounding in terror as I felt him replace the heavy weight of the gun in my hands. It was too heavy, really, not at all what I thought it would feel like. That vision of Lara Croft and James Bond twirling their pistols evaporated the moment I held the dense metal in my outstretched arms.

I thumbed the hammer and gazed out at the target, feeling the rapid beating in my chest clatter inside my ribcage. My index finger stroked the trigger but did not squeeze.

“Now breathe out.” My father whispered behind me, and robotically I fired.

Bam! The recoil reverberated through my bones, and I saw a fresh hole in the chest of the paper man on the opposite wall. It was so fast, as fast as the bite of a cobra on an unsuspecting mouse not even able to process the sharp fangs wrapping around its body until it was already stone dead.

I stared out at the paper man like a deer in the headlights, my wide eyes gazing at the smoke wafting off of the barrel. It was surreal and disturbing the way the serpentine tendrils of smoke seemed to wrap around me, twisting around my arms and curling up my neck. It seemed to squeeze my lungs, constricting and suffocating as it coiled around my body.

I put down the gun and tore off the tight headphones that pressed against my brain, desperately trying to breathe despite the pressure of the thick acidic air.

“I need some air,” I muttered before dashing out of the subterranean cave of the gun range. I clawed my way up the stairs towards the sunlight peaking out from underneath the door. I fumbled for the handle of the door but my hands were trembling. I pushed it open and stepped into the blazing light of the pure summer sun. I took a deep breath, inhaling the fresh air unpolluted by the black odor that still clutched to my clothes and hair.

I was not scared exactly, nor was I disgusted either. All I know is that I felt a certain emotion of magnetic repulsion at the smell of gunpowder and the weight of the metal in my small hands. The image of the two dime-sized holes in the body of the paper man was haunting and disturbing as my brain subconsciously visualized the way a bullet would slice through flesh and organs and spill out blood onto the field of littered shell-casings below. The idea of using such a frightening weapon of destruction on another human being sickened me in a way that made me shake all over. While my father and his friends laughed, speaking of shotgun blasts that could tear basketball sized chasms in the chests of men without even aiming, I shuddered in a solemn aversion for the smooth metal of the revolver they had placed in my hands.

I did not fear the weapon in the careful hands of my father or his friends, nor was I scared when I saw police resting their wrists on the holsters of pistols. I did not fear those I knew who chose to wield such great and terrifyingly mortal power.

I feared only the implications, and the icy rush I felt experiencing such dreadful dominion over life and death.

On the drive home from the gun range my father asked me a hypothetical question. If someone was trying to hurt me or my family, could I pull the trigger?

I looked at the case of the revolver in the car. It was sleeping now, curled up in its nest and quietly waiting to strike. I gazed back at him, studying his familiar face.

“Yes.” I whispered. And that is what scared me the most.