Boy, when people sing about a winter wonderland around here, they ain’t kidding. I’d wager that with the first major snowfall of the year comes an increasingly enthusiastic populace with ideas aplenty as to what to do with it. The fact that many here are from toastier climes and may be unfamiliar with some key properties of snow (such as its effectiveness in projectiles) only adds to the potential for hijinks.
After the first big storm, the usual snowy snarkiness abounds. Some people make snow angels, starting with their feet together to minimize that ridge in the middle that ruins the illusion. The more misguided among nerdfolk might try to make snow angles, only to give up when they realize that their protractors aren’t big enough for the job. And as is expected, those who prefer more college-y fare (as far as patterns in the snow are concerned) will have their fun. Yet, given that we’re at MIT, the phrase “go big or go home” just doesn’t seem quite enough to make sure that the wintry powder from the heavens doesn’t go unused.
Perhaps I just have weird, melodramatic thoughts regarding what to do with snow. For example, the other day, I wondered how large a pile of snow I’d need beneath me in order to safely fall off the seventh floor terrace. I probably shouldn’t have been surprised when my friends told me that six-and-a-half stories of snow would do the trick. I’m fairly sure I won’t be asking a similar question next October when the leaves hit the dirt. I’ll just get more snarky answers, and if I’m especially annoying in my asking, a leaf wedgie.
In all seriousness, a deep snowfall’s magnificence as cushioning is far too rare to go underappreciated. With enough shoveling and dedication, MIT can be the only institution in the country with a mock Sarlacc pit decorated with non-holiday-specific lighting. Aspiring stunt people can practice their trade without having to clear little kids off the Moonbounce or constructing elaborate landing pads out of apple boxes.
If the snow happens to be especially deep, snowball fights can be accentuated with snow trenches, undeniably superior to the snow fort, especially if the snow happens to be firm enough for tunneling. Then again, if it’s too firm, trying to use a snowdrift to save me from a fall might result in something besides the snow being liquefied upon impact. As the locals and chemists among you are well aware, fresh powder and fresh ice are two very different substances.
Perhaps the more ambitious among you have other suggestions for large-scale seasonal mischief. Siege engines fortifying the high-ground, armed and loaded with boulders of snow are an obvious (but still intriguing) option. Or what about a Snowhenge that also operates as an effective sundial? We can watch it melt and pretend we’re watching a time-lapse video of the past 4,000 years. (Salisbury Plains, eat your heart out.) Briggs Field, though formerly lacking in a certain nerdy flair, will soon enough return to being a blank slate, ripe for the designs and machinations of artists with enough time and creativity to bend it to their will in a way that is both memorable and profound. Personally, I vote for two large fort-like structures, one on either end. One will have a red flag in it. The other will have a blue flag. You can guess what happens next.
I don’t know, maybe I’m just being a freshman and clinging too long to the innocent fun of nostalgic younger days. I can only guess as to what level of childishness is acceptable in college. Is the line drawn at licking telephone poles, or pretending to be a snow-gopher? I suppose I’ll have to worry about that some other time. I’m off to brainstorm the snow furniture for Blue Base. Siege engines are likely.