Sunday, January 15, 2012


Iceman cometh!
Portland's been waiting for the other shoe to drop for the last several days.  Weather prognosticators were all a-warning.  "Batten down, Portland.  Pacifica's blowing in.  Snow!  Perhaps even on the city floor!"

If so, then welcome, thought I.  We haven't had a cold spell as yet this winter.  And when I'm warm and dry, sitting at the window, reading, writing, sipping coffee, it is pleasant to watch the flakes flurry down. 

But Sunday mid-morning the snow had not yet come.  I began to doubt. 

I set out walking.  Halfway up Tabor, I saw the front approaching from the west.  A gauzy, gray curtain marked its advance.

I no sooner made the summit than the weather was upon me. Tabor's crown stands some 450 feet above the surface streets where I live (on the high ground east of the river).  The difference in elevation proved enough to transform drizzly sleet to snow.  Actual snow!

On top of Mount Tabor
The snowflakes came down thick and silent, impermanent as stars.  They caught in the needled boughs of Douglas-fir.  They clung to windward boles. They made drifts among roots.

Although I wasn't comfortably seated in a coffee house or on the sofa by the fire, a sense of warmth and security descended upon me.  The shoe is dropping, and guess what?  It ain't all that bad.

I descended by eastern trails.  Here the wind did not reach.  The weather was spent assaulting the western slopes.  Standing in the shelter of Tabor's lee, one might scarcely believe there was any snow falling on his crown.

And then, descending further to the city streets, there was no snow at all.  Only halfhearted drizzle.  But away across the river a patchy white blanket still lay on the hunched shoulders of West Hills.

The best part, I've decided, of being in a storm is the weathering.  It's the weathering.

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