My brother in law Michael is notorious in the family for his frugal ways, and encourages the rest of us to follow suit. One of the aspects of his economic theory is that if you have earmarked a certain amount of money to pay for, say, a plane trip and it gets cancelled, then that amount is now yours free to spend, without a trace of guilt. We call this “Mike Money.” Over the years, this guilt-free concept has been expanded to include other aspects of life.

A snow day is a perfect example. To wake up and see five inches of snow with it still coming down, and realize that your whole day has suddenly shifted, is an opportunity for “Mike Time!”

Guiltlessly, you can roll over to catch a delicious extra snooze after your alarm has already done its job. With a light heart, you can now turn your attention away from whatever your day originally had in store for you, to a world of suddenly free time.

Part of my philosophy about “Mike Time” is that since it is a gift, these precious hours should be used to delight, to get curious, to explore in a way that is not simply moving the narrative of your life forward, but expanding it into an unknown and possibly illuminating way.

I talked to my sister in Florida this morning. It was raining and miserable where she lives and her day was going as planned. But outside my window the snow kept falling and my day was just about to include a leisurely breakfast, reading the next chapter in a wonderful book, finishing an oil painting and learning how to do a linoleum cut block print.

Watching the birds at the feeder, tending the wood stove, and trying to decide whether to take a bubble bath before or after I read on the couch, now these are surely the gifts of the Snow Queen!

Ah, the joys of winter!

Kanta Lipsky lives in West Tisbury.