Sunday, March 14, 2010


I visited snow yesterday. The big rain we got the day before dumped snow on the mountains you can see from town. That meant over-full waterfalls and white-bedecked fir trees. Up I went.

As a general principle I hate snow. I’ve always detested snow even though I spent most of my life living where winter means snow. No more. Not here in the Willamette Valley. Now I enjoy snow on my own terms. Kind of like grandchildren.

Kids are a wonderful thing, don’t get me wrong. Everyone should have some. Hopefully, when young so there’s still time to recover and live a selfish life after they move out. For one thing, without them you can’t get grandchildren, one of the best parts of the whole deal.

But when you have kids around it’s not often that you get to listen to snow dripping onto moss, winter wrens warbling in tune with the creek, and absolutely nothing else. I drove up to the edge of snowline. The trail was muddy with globs of slush falling from 200-foot trees. Fog hung on the cliffs. Hillsides gushed water like colossal plumbing failures.

Everyone should eat a little fresh-fallen snow now and then -- say, once a year. It’s living with snow 24-7 that’s so awful. Driving in it. Walking in it. Shoveling it over and over and over. I used to use a snow shovel to periodically clean one of our teenager’s rooms. Everything on his floor would be scooped into giant trash bags – candy wrappers, dirty socks, video games, unfinished homework, CD cases, half-eaten pizza. The bags would go outside with the threat to let the garbage man pick them up.

Now my snow shovel mostly gathers dust in the garage. That’s as it should be. Now my snow is in balance: close but not too close. I can visit it when I choose. And if the weather changes and crap starts coming out of the sky I can head for home where it almost never snows.

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