For those not in the know, Wednesday morning the Willamette Valley, here in Oregon, was blanketed in snow. Since our move here we’ve seen snow every year, though the last, dare I say serious? accumulation was during our first.
In the space of ~5 hours we had 5-8 inches dumped on us. To say that this city isn’t prepared to handle serious snow accumulation is an understatement — and if one does not leave the valley floor, then I’ll go so far as to say that it’s understandable. But, Eugene is not entirely located on the valley floor and I do not understand people who live in the hills who act surprised at snowfall. Because while this is the first sticking snow we’ve had down at my elevation, this is not the first snowfall that’s stuck in the hills. Then again, there are New Englanders who act like they’ve never had to deal with snow before either. “Oh my god! Snow!!! In Massachusetts!!! IN FEBRUARY!!! IIIEEEEE!!!”
Here it is Sunday, and only suggestions of snow remain. Flowers are bedraggled and look like they’ve been put through the wringer. Small mounds that were forts and snowmen linger in the shadowy bits of lawn.
But holy hell, it looks like a hurricane blew through here, with all the damage to the trees! Countless cherry blossom trees are down; you can probably count on one hand the number of those that *didn’t* lose at least a limb or two. Blackthorn and apples and lilacs and younger Douglas firs. I’m so used to the hard hard woods of New England. Looking around, I wondered at that: we’d have much harsher weather with less damage. All Wednesday morning (and I had to walk half of the way to work due to downed trees) I could hear limbs crashing down around me. The Pompass grasses have all lost their fancy tuft topping. Fences are down. There’s been minimal structure damage, but the trees! I feel, walking around, like somehow I slept through a natural disaster, only to wake up and the whole world is different. Too many of my favorite trees sustained damage or are gone, completely. My bemusement, (“Granted 5-8 inches in 5 hours is a lot, but they’re talking record breaking snowfall, and I’m sorry, a foot of snow will never, in my mind, me impressive, they don’t know how to deal with snow, hehehehe, ooooh snow in March, so unheard-of!”) has become something more solemn. This spring now has a feel of unexpected violence that was weathered and now must be recovered from.
I fail at getting this into words.
When, walking through the damage, you happen to say to your spirits, “Take from me what can be used,” however, discovering that the next week you are exhausted beyond reason, you ought not be surprised.
I forget, time to time, how much I love this place.