C’mon, It’s Just Snow!

19 12 2012

This is what everyone keeps telling me. All that white fluffy stuff? Just snow. Shockingly, it floats down from the sky about this time every year. As in every single year. Not a phenomenon of nature or a miracle from the heavens. Just a product of the cold temperatures and weather patterns and because we live way up in the northwest at the bottom of a mountain where it snows like crazy all.winter.long. So get over it. In fact, soon you’ll be sick of it.

This is what everyone keeps telling me. Now it’s my turn, “everyone”, to tell you a thing or two.

Leave me the hell alone! I love all this snow, even though it hasn’t quit falling for two and a half days now! Even though it has turned the road out to the highway into a death trap! Even though my darling man-candy is going to throw his back out from excessive shoveling! I can’t – no, I WON’T – quit gazing out my window with sheer delight and wonderment at the drifting flakes, watching as they pile up against the fence and cover the entire landscape in a soft, hazy blanket. So THERE!

Alright, that was my angry outburst. Now that the haters have been dealt with, I’m going to tell you all about the amazingly wonderful blizzard we’ve been having.

falling snow with sunshine

Ok, this was from last winter, but you get the point. SO SPARKLY

The snow started on Sunday. It’s been snowing ever since. Just snowing. There were a few gusts on Monday, but otherwise there’s been no wind. Sometimes, big, fat, wet flakes tumble to earth, piling up fast, creating a gauzy curtain that’s difficult to see through. Other times, the flakes got a little lazy, fell a little slower, danced around a bit more on their way down. They fall without discrimination, covering anything and everything they land on.

And I am head over heels for the world these falling H2O crystals create. I’m from Texas – this world is magical and foreign and spectacular. It takes my breath away, which is saying something, considering this is my 4th winter in the northwest. But my soul can’t get enough of it! My entire world becomes enveloped in a glittery gown, the sparkly white glistening and beckoning me. I want to go play in all that fluff, roll around in it, leave my imprint of fun across the expanses. At the same time, I’m reluctant to even step onto the walkway before J clears it, hesitant to disturb the virgin snow and scar it’s beautiful face.

Today I discovered a whole new delight. The last several days have been filled with the muted sounds of roof avalanches, the houses built for their environment with steep-pitched roofs that resist collecting snow. I hear the micro avalanches, first the sliding, then the impact, and glance out the window in an attempt to catch a glance of the ensuing cloud of flakes. Yesterday, one entire side of the garage roof came down at once, causing a great puff of powder and building a wall several feet high. But today, oh today, the trees showed me their trick.

Our house is in the Gifford-Pinchot National Forest, on the Forest Service compound. Developers didn’t level acreage to build housing, rather the houses were built among the trees. The towering Ponderosa sentinels guarding the front – they showed me their secret first. After inches upon inches of heavy snow, they finally decide they’ve had enough. With the slightest of movement, aided by our good pal Gravity, one branch dips just low enough to release it’s frozen burden. The falling weight lands on other branches in a downward domino effect, causing a flurry of falling flakes, rushing ground-ward in a cloud and billowing out upon hitting bottom. Time and again throughout the day, these billowing clouds would rush against my window, barely making a sound as the snow melted on the glass on impact. What a sight! Over and over, the trees shivered and shook their snowy limbs. Definitely my favorite.

Winter also means cold, not just beautiful snow. Over the last few years, I have learned how to dress for the cold and even enjoy it. But coupled with the early departure of the sun, winter typically envokes hibernation instincts deep within my being. I want to curl up in my fluffy socks and cozy sweaters, wrapped in a giant blanket, and watch movies with a steamy cup of cocoa. Books could replace the movies and I would be just as happy. Thrilled, in fact.

But my friends in the great city of Bend, OR, taught be how exciting and fantastic the snow can be from the outside as well as from the warm house. Sure it’s cold, but that’s what coats and gloves and scarves are for. Layer up and dive in. Being that I now work from home, I have to be willing to face off with the snow or I would be a prisoner for 4-5 months. I don’t do well with that much time inside. Being that we just moved, my snow clothes had to be found, but found they were and J and I set out on our first great adventure of the winter: laundry!! We don’t yet have a washer and dryer in the house, but there’s a building on the compound that  has a work-out room and laundry facilities, and we’re allowed to use it. So last night, the layers were donned and off we went.

Tromping through the fresh powder from the day was so refreshing. Down the paths carved through the soft layers, across the hidden parking lots, past the half-buried bunkhouses, we finally reached the building we needed. Once our clothes were tucked safely in their whirling machines, we took a moon-lit walk through the plowed roads around the compound. The soft glow and muted hush over the forest is calming, romantic. And the thrill and effort of trudging out to the building and back, through 30 inches of snow, really makes laundry a less-dreaded chore.

Tonight we decided to go a step further and rescued our cross country skis from the corner of the basement. We only had to drag them as far as the end of the sidewalk, maybe 15 ft, before we were able to pop in and take off. Skiing out our backdoor!! It had been several hours since the last pass of the plows, so we were able to glide right down the road. Our poles hit pavement but our skis had enough cushion to do what they were made to do – carry us over the snow with agility and speed! Well, carry us over the snow, anyway. And it was such perfect snow! We headed out onto the highway and cruised north, the weather granting us the road to ourselves. Just me and J, propelling down the road, blurry forms in the still-falling flurries. We didn’t go far as we didn’t even have headlamps and BigFoot was sure to be waiting just ahead, but we went far enough to work up a sweat. Such a great time to see the forest.

Back home, the Texan in me couldn’t resist the urge any longer and I flopped down on my back to sweep out an angel in the middle of the road. J praised my handiwork and decided to do the same, but in the yard. Flopping down backward into 3 feet of snow, he was immediately stuck and only buried himself further when he attempted to flail his arms to make wings. Admitting defeat, he attempted to get up and floundered a bit before I took pity on him and reached out a helping hand. Both of us now in the snow, we laid back laughing, enjoying our playtime together. Before we could get up and out, the tree above us decided to show me it’s trick from a whole new perspective and dumped buckets of snow all over us both. We could only laugh, our mouths open wide in surprise, our entire faces caked in snow from the tree. Stumbling from our snowy gift from above, we shook with laughter and tried to brush what we could off each other. Still, the floor needs a rowdy mopping after the mess we tracked into the kitchen.

The only downside to all this winter wonder is that this weekend is Christmas, and I told my kid sister in Bend I would be there to spend it with her. So Old Man Winter, if you’re reading this (or listening to my fervent pleas), I would really be grateful if you could keep the roads drive-able at least until Saturday. Big thanks, dude.

Now off to bed, to be lulled to sleep with the thunderous sounds of sliding snow.





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