Monday, February 11, 2008

A rambling winter rumination....

Hmmmmmm where to begin?

Since we're beginning to slowly but surely creep out of winter, I'll start with weather (specifically winter) - a mild obsession of mine.

Winter in Illinois is COLD. It's the kind of cold that you don't screw around with. I can remember ONE time in all of my educational years that school was closed because it was too cold to be outside and that was because the pipes froze. Now mind you, that doesn't mean it wasn't cold - it just means that when it's ten below, you just bundle up a little better for your trek out to the bus stop.

And the wind. People here in the Columbia Gorge think they understand the wind - and they DO - I mean, it's the windsurfing capital of the universe or some such junk. But the wind in can lean into it and not fall down while walking down the street. It's the kind of winter wind that absolutely burns your lungs with your first searing breath out the front door. Banana used to cry when we would run from the door to the car that her "BOOGIES WERE FROZEN!" And don't even get me started on the wind chill.

Case in point. Today in my hometown it is ten degrees. With the wind chill it's negative two. Over the weekend they had a wind chill advisory because temps dipped to twenty six. BELOW zero. And they are expecting six inches of new snow on top of what they already have.

That's pretty darn average for this time of year in Chicago. And business will go on as usual. People will go to work, go to school, and go get groceries. No one is running out to stock up on bread and milk - it's just another day in and around the windy city. The threat of snow SHOULD be over by the end of March....then again the year I was pregnant with Banana the skies dropped seven inches of the white stuff on April 1.

If that kind of weather hit our part of the gorge, life would STOP. It would be the STORM OF THE CENTURY that the newscasters predict on a weekly basis in Chi-town. Here, the grocery stores had primroses outside on February first. Here, its 55 degrees, and it's supposed to be near sixty on Saturday. This is NOT unseasonable. People are already planning their gardens, and cleaning out flowerbeds. I went outside without a jacket today and felt FINE.

Now that being said, the threat of snow isn't over just yet - the foothill/mountain thingies across the river out my kitchen window will probably still get dusted a few times and we may even still get a stray inch of snow a time or two before it's all over. But it's doubtful. And if it DOES happen, there will be no school. And that's because there are no plows. In Illinois every subdivision has at least one. Here we're lucky if each TOWN has one.

Sometimes I miss the snow. It's been a banner year for snowfall in Illinois and I miss looking outside and seeing it pile up. I do not however, miss shoveling it. Then I remember that all I have to do is hop in the car and drive towards that big old rock they call Hood. In a half hour, I will have snow quite literally, up to my ass. If it's been a banner year in Illinois, it's been a phenomenally unheard of year on the mountain here. They are currently under ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY FOUR inches of snow on Hood. That's over fifteen feet people. I don't even know how they go about measuring snow like that.

So I don't miss the snow too much. It's only a half hour away. And in the meantime, I can start shopping for plants for my garden every time I run to Safeway.

No comments: