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Snow Day

Watch101 Dalmationsing snow fall reminds me of a scene from one of my favorite books as a kid, 101 Dalmations. Pongo and Missis have rescued the puppies from Cruella DeVil and are escaping across the English countryside.

Missus said, smiling, “How soft and gentle the snow is!”

Pongo was not smiling. He cried, “If they sleep on until it has covered them, they will never wake—they will freeze to death beneath that soft, gentle snow! Wake up, pups! Wake up!”

In another of my favorites, The Call of the Wild, Buck the newbie sled dog finds himself alone on a Yukon night. With drooping tail and shivering body, very forlorn indeed, he aimlessly circled the tent. Suddenly the snow gave way beneath his forelegs and he sank down. Scall of the wildomething wriggled under his feet. He sprang back, bristling and snarling, but a friendly little yelp reassured him. A whiff of warm air ascended to his nostrils and there, curled up under the snow in a snug ball, lay Billee.

Another lesson. So that was the way they did it, eh?

Snow. To Missus the romantic, it’s beautiful. To Pongo, “one of the keenest minds in dogdom,” it’s deadly. And to Buck on his steep learning curve, it’s a fact of nature to be endured or put to use. Decades after I read those books, the dogs’ different perspectives still come to mind as I watch my own dogs in the snow.

Great literature lives in you forever, and that’s why children need it. So that for the rest of their lives they can see the world through others’ eyes. So that snow can be a thing of beauty, danger, and refuge, even as they, like every other kid from Virginia on North today, mouth those magical words.

snowdogsSnow day!







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