- Student Life
The following was written by Paul Gillam '19 (Editor in Chief of the Prep News) in the January 18th issue following a snowstorm in St. Louis.
There’s snow denying how troublesome snow is—especially nine inches of it. In the face of the recent near-historic snowstorm, our entire city seemed to go belly up as we retreated into our homes to wait it out. I did something similar, but instead of retreating into my own house, I built my own: Inuit style.
Although my back was sore and a blister was forming on my left thumb from shoveling driveways, Saturday afternoon was probably the best opportunity I would have to fulfill my long-held dream of building an igloo. The light but sticky snow and the mid-30 degree weather provided me with perfect working conditions and I didn’t want to pass them up.
Starting the igloo wasn’t hard work, just slow and monotonous, as the snow mountain I was amassing grew exponentially slower. My dad helped me, which I was extremely grateful for. The mid-five-foot mound, surrounded by newly snowless grass, towered over anything smaller than it—including my 6th grade cousin who was looking to pick a snowball fight.
The next step was creating the master bedroom. Getting onto my belly, I carefully dug into the snow, eventually creating a pocket I could sit up or lay down in. Lavishly furnished with a shower-curtain-and-sleeping-bag floor, old candles, and a beach towel door, the finished product looked as if it belonged on “MTV Cribs.” Sure it was small, a bit cold, damp, and isolated, but it was really cool and that made the effort worth it.
I figured the next step was to sleep in it, naturally. Pulling almost every sleeping bag from our downstairs closet and dragging all my blankets and pillows outside, I bedded down in almost total silence for a surprisingly short night. Although it was around 25 degrees outside, my igloo was a cozy 34 degrees—perfect sleeping conditions if I might say. I should been worried about cave-ins or lack of airflow, but the thoughts only briefly crossed my mind. I woke up twice, once at 3 a.m. and once at 7 a.m., but I stayed up after 7.
I have to say that sleeping in my front yard in the middle of the winter in a hand-made igloo was easily one of the coolest things I have ever done. The entire process felt like an adventure. Sure, I didn’t get good rest and my feet were freezing and my back was sore, but it was absolutely worth it.
The igloo made me realize that I rarely do things just do to them—just for the adventure. Nearly everything we do, especially at SLUH, is for its outcome, and we can easily forget about the process and the adventure that comes from it, focusing too much on why and less on what and how. Thinking back, there was really snow point to building the igloo. At the moment it’s still standing in my front yard with a boot-sized hole in its wall and I haven’t been in it since Saturday. But the igloo serves as a good reminder to do things just for the adventure, just because they are cool.