Snow Maze

Walking through the Square this afternoon I was met by at least three separate “be careful, Miss”–that perfectly friendly Bostonian greeting that tells me why yes, I have finally met the famed New England winter. It also tells me that everyone around me who sees this short girl with the far too heavy backpack sloshing and sliding along in her boots must not be from around here. Well, guilty as charged.

I must say one thing though–the way they handle snow up here is nothing short of amazing. The kind of snow that would have shut my hometown down for weeks was cleared off the roads in about 24 hrs. Businesses were open again today and there was an unusually large number of people holding Starbucks cups tightly in their gloved and mitted hands as if it were gold–or at least a reward, for braving the snow maze.

A Harvard Tradition #harvardbucketlist

When Nemo came through, my friends and I were definitely not even considering venturing outside. But in the hours after the worst of the storm, soon the hollering and shouting could be easily heard throughout Mather House. All of us had been lounging on the various couches and sofas in the other common room, when we hurriedly went to the window to see what all the commotion was about.

None other than twenty students were standing at one edge of the courtyard cheering and waving their arms while pointing at the other. Our gazes slowly shifted. Save a single pair of shorts, a young man was running stark naked through the courtyard–at remarkable speed I might add (not that this is surprising considering the subzero temperatures). Apparently someone had just lost a snowball fight.

Now, neither my friends nor I are so crazy that we could have ever been persuaded to shed our layers and run for it, but the next day we did gear up for another Harvard tradition:

sledding down Widener Library’s steps.

It was quite the scene. Loud hoots and shouts from people lining up with their contraband dining hall trays to sled down the famous steps, their friends and supporters cheering them on and piling as much snow as they could onto the pathway to cushion their ride. Our motley crew left Mather and trekked our way to Harvard Yard on a route through almost unrecognizable territory–roads strewn with white, snow plows saving the day, and plenty of students, families, and tourists alike coming to share in this remarkable world of white. I for one, Virginia girl that I am, have never seen that much snow in my life. But man was I excited to sled on it :)

That was one memorable afternoon and, if the weather is kind to us for the two remaining winters that I have here at Harvard, it will be the only one of its kind. There were Seniors flooding the yard in swarms, excited to check another item off of that #bucketlist during their last semester as undergraduates. As we were leaving the “slopes” I saw one recent grad who has been living and working in our House and has become a friend over the past semester.

“Have you ever done this before?” I asked her.

“Nope, this kind of thing only happens once,” she replied with a grin.

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I suppose what she meant was, it only happens once while you’re at Harvard–so you better make it count. :)

Bye, Nemo!

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