This time last week, the sky was blue. The air was cold and getting colder. My stash of stove pellets was nearly gone, and the refrigerator was looking kind of bare. I had bills to send and packages boxed up to mail. But I didn’t feel like going into town. So I didn’t.
At 1:30 a.m. Thursday morning, the sky was still clear, and the grass was still green. But when I got up at 7, my world had turned black and white. We had two inches of snow on the ground, and it was snowing hard. The light coming through my skylights and windows was so bright, and the untracked snow outside so beautiful, I took pictures and sent them out on Facebook.
My phone rang. Weather alert from Chemeketa Community College in the valley. All classes and campus activities cancelled. It rang again. The guy scheduled to fix my hot tub. “I’ll bet you’re cancelling,” I said. “Yes ma’am,” he replied.We rescheduled for Tuesday. Maybe.
Once again I was snowed in, just as I was in Corvallis in early December. The snow quickly turned to ice. It was worse inland. Deeper snow, colder temperatures. News reports showed a 20-car pileup on I-5 north of Albany. By the end of the weekend, there would be more than 600 crashes, mostly minor, in Western Oregon. But even here on the coast, schools, government offices, and even the outlet mall were closed. Organizers canceled concerts, fundraisers and parties. On Friday, transit buses stopped. The garbage trucks did not come. On Saturday, our mail got stuck in Portland.
Meanwhile, I emptied my last bag of pellets into the stove on Friday and ate a fried tomato sandwich for lunch. Things were getting a little desperate. I was never so glad to hear the patter of rain on the skylights and see drops of water streaking down my windows. Saturday, I was able to drive through the slushy snow-melt to mail my packages, buy pellets and groceries and treat myself to a meat loaf sandwich at the Chalet. Annie and I took a long walk. She barked at the melting snowman family on our neighbors’ lawn and sniffed at a dead robin beside the road.
On Sunday, it warmed up into the 40s. The snow had disappeared, and we were back to rain and wind here on the coast. Hallelujah.
In Portland and most of the Willamette Valley, it’s still frozen. A friend posted a Facebook picture showing the snow in his yard was 15 inches deep. Radio announcers are still talking about closed schools, icy roads, and freezing rain. The only difference between today and December is that I’m on the defrosted side of the mountain.
Other parts of the country have been dealing with snow and ice for months. In the East, it’s an annual occurrence, but they have snow plows, and folks know how to drive in it. Here, everything stops until the ice melts. If you’re not ready, too bad. The next time I say, oh, I’ll go get pellets or food tomorrow, I hope I remember last week and say, no, I’ll go now. Just in case.