Freezing rain on hydrangea

Today I’ve spent the day inside grading essay portfolios while outside, the clouds have sputtered freezing rain. Grading is always the last thing to check off my holiday to-do list: after cards have been mailed and gifts have been purchased and wrapped, final grading awaits.

Freezing rain on hydrangea flower

This year, grades are due on December 26, but I make a perennial promise to submit grades before Christmas so I can unplug for the day. I like to imagine all the other college professors (along with Santa and his elves) toiling steadily on the 23rd and 24th, a looming deadline providing focus after much procrastination.

Freezing rain on dead hydrangeas

Today after lunch, I ventured outside to take pictures of our backyard hydrangea. Grim voices on the radio warned that we might lose power, and authorities cautioned residents to stay close to home because of slippery roads. I don’t often look forward to paper-grading, but it can be downright cozy to spend the day with student papers and a bottomless cup of tea while the world outside is gradually encased in ice.