Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Snows of Vancouver

This morning the frigid air left light gray frost on the darker gray field grasses under the nearly black Douglas Firs. The road looked wet in the headlights, and once in a while a lamp would expose a tan house in the predawn light. As I raced along the empty country roads, the sky lightened until the indigo gave way to bluish gray. By the time I reached the beginning of the industrial area, pink glowed behind Mt. Hood.

The sun wouldn't peek out from behind the mountain until I was settled into the closet, but I imagined a crisp, beautiful, sunny day. My lunch time was spent in an empty, windowless office while I worked on editing. About three in the afternoon, I heard the gasping breaths of co-workers. Snow. I ran out to the office area and squinted out the window at the dark rain. If you stared long enough you could see a snowflake occasionally float down among the drops.


Two flakes stuck to the ground.

Mass panic.

The radio interrupted regular programming to begin 24 hour news coverage of the blizzard. By four o'clock drifts as high as a half inch had accumulated.

It looked like fun to me. I didn't want to miss driving in it.

"Gosh, look at the size of the flakes. They are the size of a quarter. They are huge," I casually mentioned over the dire predictions of an inch to three inches expected. "Look at the top of my car, it is completely covered." I made a bunch of tsk tsk noises and shook my head.

"Go home," my boss said. "You'll never get up your dirt road hill if you wait any longer."

"Yes," I made my voice shake to announce my concern. "I must go now, while I can make it." I shut off my computer, zipped up my black windbreaker and nearly ran out to the car. If I'd had my red shoes on, they would have acted as snow shoes.

(The white splotches are actually snow flakes including the one on the right rear quarter panel)

I jumped in and remembered I would have to chip away the frozen glacier on the windshield. I started to climb out, but decided to turn on the wipers instead. Hopefully no one would notice how easily it brushed off until I was out of the parking lot on my way home.
I love the Northwest. By the time I got home, the snow had turned back into rain.


  1. Oh. "Predawn race in the car", "Settled into the closet", "windowless lunch"?

    I seriously thought you were about to reveal that you are really a vampire...

  2. Ah, I love the panic that ensues in places unaccustomed to snow when the tiniest bit hits. I've family in Boulder, CO and Rochester, NY, places that regularly get feet of snow, so a blizzard of 2" makes me smile.

    At least you got off work early. :)

    Happy new year, good lady!

  3. I was home before it hit, so I got to sit back with a glass of wine and watch it fall. We got a whopping 2 inches or so. Sadly it seems some folks were stuck on I-5 for HOURS!!!

  4. Jenku,

    Paaaalease. A vampire? Hmmmm, there might be something in that. I'll put that in my query letters.


    My parents who moved here from Massachusetts in August, have never experienced the mass hysteria of the Northwest. One inch cripples the entire Portland/Vancouver metro area. My mother called me and just laughed. (As I suspect you did.) I laughed too, as I drove out early.

    Sipping wine, a crackling fire, and 24 hour news coverage. You can't beat it. I do feel bad for the I-5 people.

  5. I love your new picture! And I love the way you wrote the intro - fabulous writing!

    And the snow-panic - really? I thought since ya'll were north of the Mason-Dixon line it snowed all the time....

    PS my car had frost on the windshield this morning...it took 5 minutes of windshield wipers and squirty water stuff to totally clear it...

  6. Karen,

    I’m sure you Floridians think we get a lot of snow up here, but we don’t. The forefathers of our state got in the natural disaster line a little late. Kansas got “Tornados”; California drew two because they are so big, “Drought” and “Earthquakes” and so on. With only a few cards left in the hat, our representative drew “Volcano”. I mean, really. Hawaii drew that card and look what they have done with it. It is a massive tourist attraction. We’ve only managed one decent eruption in the last 30 years.

    Please let us have a little fun with the occasional snow flurry. Not everyone got to draw "Hurricanes", you know.

  7. Happy New Year! with love from the Hurricane State.....your cousin Tonto

  8. Karen,

    But your state does it with such flair. Happy New Year to you too. Just a half hour left for you.

  9. Ah man, we've been wanting some snow sooo badly. The Kaiser was certain that Christmas = Snow. I tried to explain but he didn't believe me. Until Christmas morning. :-/

    Happy New Year. :D

  10. Misadventures

    How sad when our dreams are crushed with harsh, non-snow reality. Our own snow was gone the next afternoon except along the east bank of the freeway, which doesn't lend itself well to sledding.

    To the new year, and being published.

  11. Too fun! Loved the post. And agree that the panic in the Portland area is funny... not that I'm much better since I grew up around here. (I won't drive if there's too many flakes sticking either.)
    Thanks for the entertaining read, Melanie!

  12. Peggy,

    I believe we should unabashedly savor our chaos.

  13. In our defense, it's not the snow that scares us, it's the threat of ice. In case any of your followers haven't seen it, here's the link to that video of our type of storm.


  14. Ari,

    I must have watched that video a hundred times when it was first posted on the television station. But, didn't it end too soon? I seem to remember a car slamming into the fire truck, too.

    Yes, THAT is why we panic. Well, that and it is a good excuse to leave work early.


Comments are great fun. Really. I love them. Except from the bots that have found my blog. I'm enabling the word verification to block them. Sorry.