Tuesday, December 30, 2008

White-out Christmas

I posted my "Bleak Midwinter" entry both here and at "Coming to Terms."

It seems that those few who read it thought I was creating a quaint little card celebrating the winter wonder of the first White Christmas we've experienced in the twenty-five years we've called Oregon home.

Ummmm…not so much.

A White Christmas is something to love in a place like Chicago, where there are snow plows, road salt, snow blowers, and platoons of technicians trained in the art of confining the sparkly white stuff to front yards and toboggan hills.

But here in the valleys of western Oregon, snow is a freakish meteorological hiccup. We have no more capacity to deal with it than we would a biblical plague. Two inches of snow is a monstrous inconvenience that paralyzes entire towns, cancels school, and causes a noticeable blip on the insurance rate scale, as clueless drivers skid and crash into one another with wild abandon.

Two feet of snow is a bona fide disaster.

Christmas 2008 will go down in history as the Christmas that was literally canceled by snow.

It made its first appearance on December 14th. We should have been warned of its malicious intent by the fact that, rather than turning to rain and dutifully washing away almost immediately—as is the usual habit of snow in these parts—the weather instead turned icy cold and froze us below this first six inches of snow. Four days later, we were still slipping, sliding and crunching around on the stuff when another storm blew in and it snowed some more.

And again the next day. And the next. In fact, it snowed every day for an entire week. Up to and including an additional two inches—adding insult to injury—on Christmas Day.

By the time all was said and done, I had easily twenty inches of white Christmas piled in my front yard. And that same twenty inches had fallen on every street in town—this town which does not own a snow plow.

In 1984, the young hubs and I emigrated to Oregon. Hard as it is to believe now, I worried that I would miss the four distinct seasons we experienced in Illinois. I was sure I would miss snow. But I consoled myself with the knowledge that all we would have to do was drive a couple of hours to the mountains whenever we suffered from acute snow deprivation.

Can I now confess that, in all these 24 ½ years, we have never got so homesick for snow that we jumped in the car and drove up to the mountains to visit it? Especially since it has adopted the habit of blowing down out of the mountains to visit us every couple of years?

Turns out I don't miss snow too much after all. But I would love to be given the opportunity to try…





JACKIE said...

Add in the hills in Portland and Seattle and arrrrrrgh! We managed to dodge the deep snow bullet down here last week. But, I have to admit that snowy days we had were great for bird watching. It's like there must have been a sign out that said "go to the house with the dogwood." I like to watch snow when it's here. I don't miss it when it doesn't come.

Kathy said...

You're suffering the cold and snow of our winters and we have nine holes open on the golf course.

Go figure.

But today, the cold has come back with the wind and we have three predicted storms for the coming days. Should be interesting.

I would miss snow if I didn't have it ... but I understand you folks who don't love it -- quite as much.

Or at all.

sunflowerkat321 said...

We got a one day snow of about 6 inches that was gone within a couple of days. I'm still missing the PA snow...that's for sure. I've never lived anywhere where snow was so uncommon that we were immobilized for any length of time. Heck, in northern Indiana, the National Guard was ready when the state and municipal services couldn't keep up.

I knew you all were getting nailed out there...I just didn't realize that you were so totally unprepared. That's not just an inconvenience....that's gotta suck!

Cynthia said...

We rarely get snow in the winter, but ice storms are regular down here. We get immobilized the same way. I'm sending thawing wishes your way.