Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The silver lining of a snow day

To the delight of school children across the Tri-State area, the winter storm that was expected to hit last night hit. It hit big. Schools were closed and children rejoiced (none more than mine). Again. We awoke to a blanket of white covering New York City. Despite the natural beauty at first glance, I was prepared for a miserable and messy commute to work. The roads and sidewalks were slushy and slick and there was so much snow that shoveling paths so people could walk meant building enormous snow banks that were challenging to traverse. I expected the general mood to be foul, as the general mood in New York City has been all month in the face of the first brutal winter in years. Needless to say, I didn't know what to make of the fact that my commute was actually pleasant. I witnessed strangers sharing a laugh over their predicament. People were smiling at and helping one another along. It was hard not to appreciate and ultimate join in this camaraderie just as it was hard not to be enchanted by the golden sun causing the snow-covered treetops to glisten in the most fabulous way. Such a surprising morning! Sometimes it takes misery to bring out the best in people and when the best is brought out, it's contagious. It took me 20 minutes to walk to the subway this morning and during that time, I shared knowing glances, silent chuckles and expressions of gratitude with more than 20 people. Kindness can surely surface unexpectedly.

So, how's this for a segue? Today I received an Advanced Reader's Copy of the most delightful book, Suryia & Roscoe, written by Bhagavan "Doc" Antle with Thea Feldman, with photographs by Barry Bland. I am sad for you that the book will not be available for purchase until April but assure you that it's worth jotting down the name of this one. Roscoe is a Bluetick Coonhound who, as an underfed stray dog, wandered into The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (TIGERS) park in Myrtle Beach, S.C. in 2006. An orange orangutan named Suryia saw him, ran over and hugged him. They have been inseparable friends ever since. True story. Look at how an unexpected act of kindness can evolve. And just look at the photo to the right where Suryia has Roscoe on a leash. There are tons of photos like that in the book - the two of them hugging and cuddling, Roscoe teaching Suryia to swim and there's even a sweet shot of them kissing. I love this book!

Photo Credit: Katarina Krek
So if that story didn't sufficiently warm your heart, consider the photo to the left and ask yourself who said you can't play in the snow and read at the same time? The book being devoured by a fourth grader from Weston, MA in her “snow nook” is Barbara O’Connor’s How To Steal a Dog, winner of the William Allen White Children’s Book Award. How cute is this?

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