I have a tense relationship with the snow. Just last week, it did me dirty. I was walking home from the DP office late at night, and I slipped on ice and fell. I sat in the middle of Delancey Street, nursing my cut hand and brushing the slush off my jeans. An opossum hobbled along the other side of Delancey, seeming to taunt me. Precipitation had gotten the best of me once again.

Back home in San Antonio, snow was a treasure. In south Texas there are only 16 days a year when the temperature dips below freezing, when the air is cold enough to support snowflakes. It’s even rarer for moisture to be present on one of these two weeks each year. 

When it snows, the entire region shuts down. A half–inch of snow can cancel an entire day of school if the ground’s cold enough for it to stick. I don’t think the city of San Antonio owns any salt. On the four snow days of my youth, I remember stripping all of the snow off of the ground and rolling it into a muddy snow lump. I don’t think I’ve made a proper snowperson to this day.

In my junior year of high school, I was granted the fourth and final of my south Texas snow days. I decided to take a trip to the San Antonio Museum of Art to enjoy some Matisse with my hot chocolate. Upon opening the door to the building, a frantic reporter from our local newspaper, the Express–News, stopped me to get a quote for a story about students enjoying their day off. I definitely fit the bill. I let the spotlight get the best of me and started to overshare. I told the journalist “I’m glad we have a snow day because I didn’t do any of my homework.” I didn’t think they would print that as a pull quote on the front page of the next day’s paper. I never could’ve guessed that my calculus teacher would bring in a copy to leave on my desk. I made sure to have my problem sets done from then on. Checkmate, snow.

Superficially, I hate the snow for its wetness and tendency to streak my front hallway with salt stains. But I could be more forgiving. Maybe snow is my guardian angel, teaching me to walk on shoveled paths like a normal person, so that I do not embarrass myself in front of back alley opossi. Maybe snow is the reason I’m at Penn today, and the flurry tonight's flurry is a gentle reminder that I should finish all my readings. Just in case any of my professors are reading this.