I've been pretty much paralyzed the last three days, ever since it started to snow. As you know if you regularly read this blog, our weather has been abnormally dry. Oregon's Cascade Mountains, though not as dry as California's Sierra Nevadas, had far too little snow, and the summer water situation was beginning to look grim.
No longer. Three days ago a series of storms swept in, bringing heavy snow to the mountains and even the Willamette Valley. In Sisters, it deposited three to four feet—it's difficult to be exact. All that snow was mesmerizing and magical, and we both had a hard time tearing ourselves away from the sight of thick snow pouring down hour after hour after hour. We watched as first one shrub and then another, and then small trees, disappeared under a graceful curve of white crystals.
The whiteness filled our winter-dark rooms with glowing light, and I want to thank whoever designed snow to be white. It could have been made blue, or green, or even brown, I suppose, but someone had their thinking cap on and realized that during winter's darkest days a little reflected light off glistening white snow would be welcome. My little office is filled with light these days, making it a joy to enter.
Sisters country is used to snow, but amounts like this are rare. We haven't been able to get around to see how the rest of the community is faring, but on our street at least, neighbors with shovels have been moving through the streets, helping one other shovel out paths and driveways. Not every one has been so lucky. The Nugget reports that an elderly couple was found dead in the snow, apparently trying to walk to a residence on an unplowed and "heavily blanketed" driveway. A sad note to an otherwise exciting few days.
This morning the storm moved on, the snow stopped, and the sun came out, producing a blinding and beautiful whiteness. And already, it's starting to melt. The pines, whose branches only a few hours ago held buckets of snow, are now almost bare. Beginning tomorrow at least five days of warming rain will arrive, and with it, chances of flooding.
Coincidentally, an article in today's New York Times titled "The End of Snow?" details the myriad places and ways that the white stuff is disappearing, thanks to climate change. It's depressing and frustrating that so little is being done, and if we could we'd happily share our abundance. Since we can't, we'll celebrate this bountiful gift by going for a walk, and by praying that the rains arrive slowly, enabling the melt to soak into the earth, not flood it.
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