On the phone yesterday with a friend who lives in Texas, I couldn’t help punctuating our conversation about families, dogs and physical ailments with a blow-by-blow description of the weather.
–70 degrees here, very dry.
–Still 70 degrees.
–It’s raining, washing away the snow.
–Still 70 degrees and nothing.
–Hail! Can you hear it?
–Nothing in Arlington.
–Oh, now the snow is back. So pretty.
–I don’t understand. I thought you lived at the beach.
–I can’t picture snow on the beach.
–Well, it looks like sand, but it’s white.
–Hey! The sun is out. Annie and I need to take our walk.
Never a fan of heat, she mostly stays in her air-conditioned house. Me, I want to be outside especially if there’s a lick of sun, but also in the snow, rain and hail. I want to feel it all on my face, be part of life, not just observing it.
As Annie and I were walking down a road graveled for traction, a snow plow passed. There was no snow left to plow. The driver waved; I waved back. The sky darkened. We turned toward home, awaiting the next development.
The weather show changes constantly here and rarely disappoints, although it often inconveniences. Friends who planned to leave the coast for Christmas saw the snow on the mountain passes and changed their minds. A week ago, floods narrowed our street to a narrow strip of dry land. The ditches and rivers overflowed and roads fell down. A chunk of Highway 101 a half mile north of here collapsed under the weight of the constant rain (more than 12 inches in December so far), and a mudslide blocked the highway south of Yachats. The road between Florence and Eugene was impassable. You’ve got to keep up with changing conditions around here or stay home.
Branches still litter the yard from recent windstorms. When I went out the other day during a moment of sunshine, the rain came pounding so hard I decided to wait for another day.
On Christmas, when I got home from dinner with friends, it was clear. Stars were shining. I shed my clothes and went out to the hot tub. Bam. Rain and hail. Good thing I was wearing a hat. And earrings.
Climate change? No, I hear this is how it has always been on the Oregon coast. In fact, at one point white would-be settlers declared it uninhabitable because of the weather.
But my friend, who grew up with me in San Jose and then moved to Texas, finds it all hard to believe. Other friends who live where it snows in feet not inches, where the temperature dives below zero and stays there for months, laugh at our little weatherettes. For this San Jose native, it’s a big deal.
Some days, I stare too much at computer screens, but often there’s a better show outside. Besides I lost the remote control to my streaming TV and Annie swears she didn’t eat it. Amazon is sending a replacement.
Whatever your weather, enjoy the relaxing days after Christmas and a chance to clear away the dregs of 2021 for a shiny new 2022.
It was snowing when I started this post. Now the sun is out. Stay tuned.