Sunday, December 16, 2012
It always feels odd to celebrate the winter holidays without snow.
It is 42 degrees on the Pacific Northwest coastline this morning, and we are cherishing another day of intermittent, intense rain showers accompanied by spurts of high winds. The rivers are teasing the edge of the banks, and sandbags line the roads. The road crews are still working on landslides and sinkholes from the last assault that blew through. The wet squalls that tear up the coastline funnel upstream and overland into the Siskiyou mountains. There they turn into snowstorms.
Snow regulates soil and air temperature, dictates plant communities. Snow melt fills our lakes, and rivers. It nourishes our communities daily. Our wildlife thrives on it. Snow feeds my long shower habit.
Snow brings on a sense of nostalgia. Childhood scenes of countryside blanketed in deep snow. Hopes of school closing- a miracle day off in snow heaven isolation. Postcard images of New England towns dressed in white. Sledding hill terror and laughter. The snow angel. The snowball.
Snow really means play! Skis, snowboards, snowshoes, crampons, sleds, snow forts, and snow-sculpture scenes to rival Calvin and Hobbes.
The scene illustrated above is from a past snow day. A snapshot of the altiplano, Sahama, Bolivia. The mountains in the background sport beautiful, unpredictable, climbable, glaciers, and hold a piece of my snow soul.