A snowstorm blew into town at around 12:18 p.m. on Thursday. The weather persons had predicted it, so when the sky went from hard gray to feathery white, no one was surprised, and we were all delighted to run out into the office parking lot and turn circles amidst the billowing flakes—each of us inwardly pretending that we were the very center of the snow globe. Mark came to pick me up from work around 2, as I refuse to drive in the snow. We put his truck into 4 wheel drive and rolled Northeast-ward from Belmont through the peaceful streets. Inside a Chinese restaurant in Hollywood, I ate hot noodles and felt happy.
Everyone in Portland (as no one in Portland is from Portland) laughs about how the schools close and the city grinds to a halt at the first hint of snow. We all come from heartier, colder places, it seems. In truth, there was only one snow day ever that I can remember growing up in Colorado. And yet, I get it. Things are different here. Portland doesn’t have snow plows. We don’t have salt or sand. Snow shovels? Naw. Also, the temperature hovers right around freezing, turning snowy streets into stone-cold ice rinks. Even with 4-wheel drive, hills you didn’t realize existed, like the one on 47th and Broadway, become insurmountable Everests in these conditions. Momentum is your friend—every intersection, a total hail mary.
Anyway, I like the mythos of the storm. Storms create stories. They’re rememberable, they’re romantic. Even in a place like where I grew up, where it snows professionally, we had our storms. I’ll forever remember this one Christmas eve—I was young. 7? 8? It snowed nearly two feet. Our power went out in the night, and my sister and I laid awake staring at the digital clock blinking 12:00, feeling like the only people on the planet, wondering, desperately, if Santa had come?! When we couldn’t resist any longer, we snuck out to look under the Christmas tree. You couldn’t even see the tree there were so many presents! A mountain of them. Dark shapes in the dark. We didn’t peak under any wrapping papers, or shake any box to determine its contents. We just just stood there and soaked up the potential energy of all those unopened presents. Minutes later, we slipped back into our beds and fell asleep softly, deeply—as softly and deeply as the snow falling down outside.