de-stressing: snow days

snowy trees on Clackamas River

Winter months are hard in the Northwest. Daylight hours are short—not as short as Norway or Alaska but short. It's chilly, damp, and dark here. These snowstorms we've been having remind me how much lighter a cloudy sky is when reflected by white snow than in rain when everything is gray and moody. (There's a reason Portland is known for craft beer, strip clubs, and coffee shops: people seek escape.)

During winter, I long for summer. I muse over past idyllic island vacations. I daydream about moving south. I get tired of wearing two coats at once and waiting for buses and trains out in the cold. But when it snows? Yes! Snow days are one of the perks of working at a public school. During the pause of daily life that is a snow day—no work, no commute—it's easier to be present in the moment.


mini-rabbit snowman

And not one, not two, but three is exactly how many coats I wore on a walk to the grocery store yesterday—plus a sweatshirt layer, my handknit mittens, a wool hat, and two wool scarves. The usual walk took on a magical quality when everything was blanketed in snow. It also took twice as long, trudging through slushy and compacted snow in rain boots—meaning snow, like sand at the beach, makes for a better workout.

snowy riverbank, Clackamas River

Down by the river in the snow and muffled air, I could almost forget about the housing complex being developed over on the Oregon City side of the Clackamette Cove, an inlet pocket of the Clackamas River, and the fitness center and large parking lot going in across the street, blocking our view of the riverside. One must be anointed by natural beneficience when it comes, while it lasts.

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