Why yes, we did have an ice storm in Oregon this week–turned practically our whole state into an ice cube. Fortunately, we’ve got some pretty good weather forecasters here in the Pacific Northwest, and we had a day’s warning. My company decided to play it safe and told us not to come into work the following day. And considering what a nasty bit of weather we got, it was a good call.
So there I was on Thursday morning, drinking hot cocoa while I tooled around the internet, doing random searches, looking for inspiration, while outside, Portland grew a half-inch skin of ice over every surface. The bridges iced over and trucks couldn’t get enough traction to get across. We don’t often get that kind of weather here in Portland–our winters are usually pretty mild. But Friday morning, people had to put chains on to get out of their parking spaces. Nasty weather to be out in.
Yeah, but to some folks, winter is more than just snowmen and ice angels.
As my mind drifted toward images of weather, I let my fingers do the searching, and I began to develop a theory that there are more events and celebrations of the winter season than any other time of the year, save perhaps Halloween, which is not a season, per se. I mean, you hardly ever hear of Summer Festivals, but there are actually lists of the “Top 5 International Winter Festivals.”
And as for sporting events, winter is far more than the Olympics. For example, there’s the annual Iditarod in Alaska, the Elfstedentocht in Holland (a traditional, 120-mile speed skating competition), the Russian Kalevala ( 270-mile skijoring race), even reindeer racing and ice sailing.
There’s winter carnivals, ice hotels, and snow sculptures on a grand scale, constructed of ice and snow, and as transitory as the weather.
And of course, all those holiday lights make everything prettier when the nights are long. When you’re looking at the reflection of those lights off the glassy smooth surface of an ice rink or from inside your igloo hotel room, it a far cry from black ice on the freeway and chipping open your car door with a plastic ice scraper.
Yeah, I guess winter ice does have it’s place.
Besides, it’s good writing weather, and dogs love it.
And it’s not even winter yet!