I’ve always understood the judgement call of a snow day, particularly when I was benefitting from such an indulgence. In circumstances where it is close to impossible for children to surmount the sea of snow obstructing both their escape from their houses (except for sledging marathons) and the entrance to school, I completely understand the decision to call it off. But today, I appear to have stumbled across a new convention, some invigorating secret that I was not made privy to during my school years. I discovered the manifestation of a Sun Day. Like me prior to today, you might be a little perplexed as to what a Sun Day is, excluding the latter day of a weekend. A Sun Day, entitled due to its nature, is apparently an occasion when the sun is just that bit too alluring and deterring for children to withdraw their sungasming eyes from it and carry themselves to school. And as a vital alternative, they gather and dissipate on the beach. The difference is obvious between these two scenarios - one involves obstruction, the other, distraction. But in Whitby, both qualify as reasons to avert a day of schooling.
Of the two, I must say if one had to go, I would vote for snow days to go. I mean consider the Sun Day, particularly today and particularly in Whitby. I would have been incredulously pissed if I was within range of viewing the sea, but restricted by an opaque glass barrier and teacher-shaped dictator who prevented me running into it, in that way we all humanly have the impulse to do. You know it, I know it, and we all pretend that what’s going to happen is not going to happen. We walk along the beach, we remove our substance-less flip-flops which we all know are excessive for the sporadic flicker of sunlight that grazes the North. We proceed in walking swiftly towards the breakers and we begin to run. We run faster, running to something larger than our miserably insignificant bodies, running straight into what makes up most of the world, something unconquerable and untameable. And when we get there, when we are just on the verge of the end of the beach, our feet carrying part of it with them, we encounter something entirely familiar, yet entirely surprising. Waves, crashing into us, salting and reviving our bodies. And electrically, we throw ourselves backwards and giddily run away from the toppling crystal waters. And then we turn and repeat the running motion, yearning for the icy collision, and unfailingly gasp in astonishment when the waves repeat the same ritual as we repeat ours. We love it. We cannot help it. And we want more of it. But there is never enough of it. And we do it for as long as we can, always absorbing this fresh taste of nostalgia, this sea-salted gesture that allays every scattered thought and revitalises every dream we hold. And we long to stay there, expecting the waves to one day surprise us and shy away. But they won’t, and we love them for never disappointing. Imagine attending a school that stood opposite such an enrapturing landscape, gazing on such a human simplicity that we cannot help but adore, with no ability to indulge in it.
So, my postulation is that upon unanimous request, they invented Sun Days. Either that or all the teachers in the Whitby area couldn’t be arsed showing up today. If so, they were probably wave chasing too.