When I tell you we have weather up here in Portland, understand that I mean WEATHER. Real, crazy swings of temperature and precipitation that can take your breath away.
For example, here are four pictures taken in our neighborhood.
These pink ones, showing the cherry blossom drifts covering everything in sight, were taken this past Wednesday, the 22nd of April.
These freezing cold white ones, showing snow coming down and creating sufficient drifts for small snowmen, were taken just five weeks ago, on March 15.
Now, these are both wonderful sights to see and even be out in, but I never expected to see them just over a month apart. Portland puts on a good show, even when the theaters and art galleries are closed!
I don’t think these even need words! Saturday, March 14, 2020, this is what was happening in Laurelhurst Park.
It was a wonderful day. Folks are self-isolating because of the state of emergency declared for the Coronavirus. Being at the park is public, but not too close. The snowmen were all at least a meter away from each other.
Saturday morning, we woke up to snow. It was just a dusting, and we went back to sleep. A few hours later, it was STILL snowing, and Grandpa Nelson decided it was time for a proper snow adventure, so we bundled up and headed off.
First, we saw our walkway, decorated with snow. The gnomes were wondering who put out the lights, apparently.
Then we noticed some tulips that had not seen the snow coming. I hope they can spring back!
Laurelhurst Park itself is lovely in any weather, but is a Narnia sort of beautiful in the snow. The Ravine always looks like Mr. Tumnis is going to show up any moment.
As we walked around, we saw dozens of families enjoying the snow. There were snowmen, snowball fights, dogs dashing around. It was a winter wonderland… in March. I will show you the snowmen tomorrow.
The lake was very pretty through the trees, as the snow came down and sat on the surface for just a minute before melting.
After our walk, we came in and hung our wet clothes up in front of the fire, and spent the rest of the day alternately watching TV and snow!
Dear Liza, Yesterday afternoon, after many false predictions, it snowed!!
Well, it was precipitation and it wasn’t rain, so we will call it snow. It bounced when it hit, making steep pitched roofs and driveways look like Pachinko games. And of course, Grandpa Nelson and I walked out in it! (He said we were really going down to Zach’s Shack for lunch, but I know better).
Before we got to Zach’s, there was quite a crunchy layer of little ice balls (okay, it was hail) on the sidewalk and covering roofs. It lay on hoods and hatchbacks and surrounded fearless daffodils.
It was cold and lovely, like all winter beauty is when you have a warm, dry place waiting for you. Which we did. At Zach’s we ate some fries and watched the weather change, from heavy hail to damp grey skies to blinding sunshine. Then it was time to head home!
It is a new year, and I am looking forward to some more big changes. I will be coming to Salinas to stay with you for a few months while I teach, and my life here in Portland will be put on hold. Grandpa Nelson and Auntie Bridgett will stay here and take care of Mouse the kitten, the houseplants, and their jobs…but we won’t be together. This will be weird, and sometimes sad.
Before looking forward, though, I want to look back on the crazy trip that got me here and what I love about Portland.
During the hot Summer, we learned about getting around on air-conditioned buses and trains. We got to visit our new favorite Laurelhurst Park with Auntie Katie and the cousins. We even walked to the Willamette River and put our feet in!
It was fun getting to show you all the things in our new city, like the zoo.
The biggest thing that we learned about is the weather. It rains a lot here, and we are getting used to asking Google if we should take an umbrella. It even snows! This takes getting used to, but is such a nice change from highs of 70 and lows of 50 that I don’t mind.
I have fallen in love with the theater and art here in Portland. Theaters are made from old churches, warehouses, and even set up in parks. Art and music are everywhere.
People playing music, reciting and writing poetry on street corners just isn’t something we saw in Salinas, and it is a real treat.
And of course, the history! I have been studying about Portland’s past…it’s buildings, trolley cars, and people. It is just about as old as Salinas, but since it is a bigger city, it has more stories.
There is so much I love about Portland. I will miss it, and then return in June to re-discover my new city all over again.
I grew up in Southern California, and have lived the last 30 years in Salinas, where ice and snow almost never happen. So having a few days to really get out and see what ice does to a familiar neighborhood has been fun.
First, clothing. Three shirts, long underwear under jeans, wool socks and boots, plus scarves and hats. Gloves, too, if you want to keep your fingers.
Next, walking. Any kind of movement becomes very thoughtful. Since the ground is squishy or slick, and cement is hard, you pay a lot more attention to your feet…the actual placement, checking for traction every second.
This means you need to stop in order to look up, which you must do, because everything is so different. The snow that fell three days ago had changed from fluffy and soft to grainy and icy, and has melted and re-frozen a few times, making some weird shapes along the way.
The evergreen camellias common in yards around here hold up to the ice well, even forming molds which the ice flows into. It was amazing to hold one of these!
Familiar things, like our gnomes on the back steps, take on new meaning. Not just “I’m a gnome” but “I’m a really freezing, patient gnome.” The plaster sun becomes a study in irony.
We had such a wonderful visit from Great Auntie Christy and Cousin Kyle, showing off this new city that we love. We walked the neighborhoods, looked at houses, saw art museums and bookshops, ate Babydoll Pizza and marathoned Christmas movies. We are now ready for a few days of downtime before the new year.