On March 14th, we all looked out our collective window as the snow began blanketing the city. Somebody, somewhere, was thanking Mother Nature because “we needed the moisture”.
And that’s true; we did. But maybe we needed a few other things, too.
You see, snow days seem to change when you grow up. As a kid a snow day meant a day off from school filled with hot chocolate, comic books, and ice skating. Snow days were for playing with your friends, building a snowman or taking epic snowball fights to the streets. They meant grabbing your tire or your saucer or even your pool floatie and begging your parents to drive you to Washington Park so that you could go sledding.
In our youth, many of us spent countless afternoons making memories on the hills of Casper. If we got really lucky, we could even talk our parents into driving us up Casper Mountain to ‘Sled Hill’. Because it wasn’t just the parks and playgrounds that had peaks and valleys to sled down. Sled Hill was the ultimate sled destination. It was almost like a rite of passage in our formative years and just the mere mention of its name, to this day, is enough to invoke a sense of nostalgic dread and exhilaration. The bittersweet moments lied in the long walk uphill and the fast slide down. Above all, the experience was the closest feeling to flying, and it was a 12-year-old’s first, and maybe only, chance at achieving immortality.
Snow days, when you were a kid, meant mornings that turned into afternoons that turned into memories you kept forever.
photo: @annawyattl // Instagram
And then you grew up… Now, snow days look a little different.
For some of us, these most recent snow days meant staying home from work and spending quality time with our families. For others, they meant pulling the shades down, cozying up in a pile of blankets and finally, for the first time in a long time, taking a moment to rest. And for a lot of us 5150’ locals, these snow days represented just another hurdle to jump over during a year that has been nothing but challenging.
But if this year has proven anything, it’s that we’re resilient. If the pandemic has taught us one thing, it’s that when we distance and isolate we lose our sense of community and even a little bit of our nature towards human beings themselves. Still, we masked up, we followed guidelines, and we all did our best to help our community come out of this better, on the other side.
So when the snow started falling, we were ready. Ready to hunker down and survive yet another storm.
photo: Sarah Carper
But then, something unexpected came over us. When we looked out the window, we saw kids, the ones we used to be, playing in the snow - in awe of Mother Nature and blessed from a day or two off from school. Watching closely we witnessed neighbors working hand-in-hand to help dig each other out of driveways, shoveling walks and uncovering vehicles that weren’t even their own. All of which was a testament to how we forge ahead as a community when it matters most.
The snow fell quickly and it will be gone just the same. But something happened during those few days that will remain for years to come – our collective sense of self and purpose. That’s the funny thing about being resilient; it’s contagious. When you take care of yourself and others, it creates a spark that can move up a snow-covered street and even overtake a town. That’s what happened during Casper’s latest snow days. Our favorite thing about our town, maybe everybody’s favorite thing, is how willing we all are to help each other out in times of need, whether it’s in a snowstorm or a worldwide pandemic. The truth is that sometimes, when the snow is just a bit too heavy, literally and metaphorically, it’s nice to be able to reach your hand out and know that somebody will take hold.
photo: Sommer Grogan
You know, that’s the thing about Casper. We know how to play, but we also know how to take care of one another. Whether it’s by shoveling a driveway or digging out a tire or asking a lonely neighbor if they want to build a snowman; we take care of the people around us. It doesn’t matter if we’re playing or working or helping or being helped. In our town, we do snow days the way we do any day. We do it all together.
And maybe that reminder, along with the moisture, is exactly what we needed after all.