Other than gazing at faraway mountain tops, or driving up to the ski hills around Vancouver during Christmas, this past Saturday (January 14th) marked the first time I saw a single falling snowflake since our move out west. Considering how much snow can fall by mid-January in Toronto, this was a welcome relief. When it did snow on Saturday, it was almost laughably mild; it didn’t even feel cold enough to be snowing at all, and it was more or less a light dusting, leaving behind just a few melting and conglomerating globs of ice:
It’s hard to see unless you click for the larger version, but it was mild enough for a bug to be running around on one of those ice-covered pieces of grass. As I went for a walk around 4pm, most of what fell had already melted in the afternoon sun:
In fact, it had turned into a pretty nice day, and I was carrying my camera specifically to capture the mildness of the first “snowfall” I’d seen in Washington. By the time I’d made the brisk walk to the western edge of Kirkland, still just wearing a light fabric “jacket” that I sometimes wear inside the office, it felt more like fall than winter:
If I didn’t have a backlog of photos in my camera to process, I might have posted that day about how nice the winter was here. Fortunately, I did have a backlog, because that post would have looked pretty stupid by Sunday afternoon, seeing this when looking out the back door:
I have to say, though, that it was actually pretty beautiful, especially since there was no wind – so the snow was falling very softly. Even the narrowest branch could still have snow piled neatly on top of it, as if someone was carefully balancing each snowflake in a game of Jenga at the molecular level:
You could hear the neighborhood kids off playing in the distance; some decided to use our long, steep driveway to go sledding (though fortunately stopped faster than the car which made the run a few months ago), and later I saw that another group had tried to roll the snow on our driveway into the start of a snowman!
While the total accumulation wasn’t anything that wouldn’t have been cleaned up overnight back in Toronto, it was a much more significant event around here. Though a good part of the snow melted off over the next day or two, the steep slopes and relative lack of snow clearing infrastructure made for quite a mess and a rash of closures; our office shut down today, and will be closed all day tomorrow, as we’re expecting snowfall that apparently hasn’t been seen since 1996 through the day tomorrow!
The saddest thing is, despite being a Canadian, I don’t even have a winter jacket handy (there’s probably one in a box around here somewhere!), I don’t have a pair of boots or a snow shovel (thanks to living in a condo in Toronto), and my car is the one I bought in the U.S. more than a decade ago which wouldn’t have the slimmest of chances of making it up my driveway. With the family in Taiwan, I’ve had minimal face-to-face human contact for half a week – other than a poor delivery guy who had to park his truck and pull my 120lb package through the snow by hand yesterday!