Snow is God's way of telling us to stay home. But do we listen to him? No. We wait for the guy on TV to tell us we can stay home. This is part of the problem.

Snow, it should be noted, is a natural phenomenon. Henry Mitchell, The Post's late and greatly lamented Earthman columnist, once wrote that each year a revelation strikes Washington with the shock of a thunderbolt: In summer it is hot. In winter it is cold. Snow falls during the latter.

It is no big deal.

It becomes a big deal when we lose touch with the natural world. Our immigrant ancestors braved icy oceans in sailing ships and crossed a storm-swept continent on horseback or in covered wagons. Those were grand adventures. The most we attempt in our pathetic, pampered little lives is a drive to work in a four-inch snowfall. No wonder we treat this like something endured by the Donner Party.

But it is no big deal. We think it's a big deal because we listen to media alarmists for whom every flurry promises meteorological apocalypse. Reporters asking people how they deal with snow might as well ask how they deal with breathing. They're like grief counselors, another hand-wringing invention we came up with recently to cushion a phenomenon people for thousands of years considered both natural and inevitable.

Snow happens.

Children, of course, are infinitely wiser about these things than we over-educated, instinct-dead adults. They understand that snow is first and foremost a creative medium. They drink in its beguiling beauty. They utilize it with great energy, ingenuity and joy. And, unlike us, they only occasionally impact trees and telephone poles.

Mothers never think children have on enough clothes for the snow. But surprise! When children get cold out in the snow, they come inside and drink cocoa. The cold is no big deal. The day off from school is.

Eventually, of course, we train children to fear snow, as we train them to fear almost everything else that gets between them and the shopping mall. But until then they remain untapped repositories of our tribal memory.

We should pay attention to them, not to the weatherman on TV. Their every Darwinian cell shouts joyfully that snow is God's way of canceling class. And of teaching, instead, the lessons that really matter.