Dear Parents and Guardians of Class IV,
I just returned from a marvelously restorative visit to Saratoga Springs, NY with my family during the Thanksgiving break. This year, we had decided to try something new and meet in the middle. Margaret and I brought the boys from Dedham; my parents ventured from Buffalo, where the city was still recovering from the heaviest one-day snowfall on record.
Weather reports were a bit shaky on the morning of our departure, but the sky looked clear during my morning run. A mist kicked in as we were loading the car, but nothing too alarming. As we got fifty miles out on the Pike, the temperature dropped and the drizzle began to fall as light snow. The snow got heavier and thicker, as did the traffic.
We found ourselves at a complete standstill in a whiteout in the middle of the Berkshires. Most people dislike driving in the snow; I find it rather enjoyable. All of the hassle and rush and grime of the expressway vanish under a sprinkling of snow. To be certain, there are still reckless drivers and perils to be found, but one is forced to slow down, to focus more intently on fellow travelers in the car, and to approach the road ahead with greater attention.
We finally arrived to snow-covered Saratoga, a charming town that looked in these conditions like a village specifically crafted for a model railroad set. Bustling shops, streetlamp decorations, striking façades of old banks and grand hotels–all coated with a beautiful covering of snow. The streets seemed frozen in time.
We sat by the fire the first night, and my parents told how my hometown had reacted to such a massive accumulation of snow of more than 72 inches in 24 hours. The city hardly needed any more bad press; dismal sports records, unemployment, and harsh winters always seem to accompany mention of Buffalo in the national news.
Yet, this time the media covered something deeper than the snow. Story after story revealed the phenomena of Buffalonians braving the conditions to help their neighbors in a time of need. In the midst of a paralyzing storm, the chaos of day-to-day lives of individuals yielded to a concerted concern for the community.
As the weather gets colder and the days darker, I hope that we can all appreciate the slower pace that is occasionally forced upon us by nature. We will have plenty of opportunities to speed ahead with our studies, our extracurricular activities and our family obligations. Every so often, though, it is helpful to just step back and let it snow.
Best wishes for the successful completion of the first semester, and for happy holidays ahead!
Class IV Dean