In case you didn't hear, we had a little snowstorm up here in the Puget Sound area. After a brief snowfall on Sunday, and some light snowy conditions early in the week, we woke up Wednesday morning to a foot of snow covering everything.
It was beautiful. It was wonderful. It was a nice day to take the kids sledding at the local elementary school, followed by hot chocolate at a friend's house.
Thursday's when it all got interesting. The snow was followed by freezing rain. Everything was covered by 1/2 an inch of ice. The Jeep looked like it was encased in crystal. Plants and trees glistened as if dipped in glass. It was breathtaking.
It was also dangerous. All that extra weight was more than many trees could bear. Water seeped into trees, and, freezing, expanded outward. Soon branches large and small, and, in many cases, whole trees were crashing to the ground. The road below our house was raining large branches and heavy chunks of ice. We wandered down to the marina and saw many trees broken over. Our driveway was blocked by a 16-inch oak branch. There was a boat broken loose at the marina. Everything was a mess.
Then the power went out. We were out about 24 hours, which isn't so bad, considering many are still in the dark. The woodstove kept us warm, and candles offered light for playing and reading. Inside, it was cozy.
But I wandered out Thursday night and stood in the middle of our driveway. It sounded like a war zone, between the constant popping of trees snapping off and the flash/bang of transformers blowing up over by the highway. For the first time in 6 years I actually felt a little worried about living in the woods. The night was restless, as sleep was punctuated by the sound of falling trees, and chainsaws clearing the road below.
Friday we got the Jeep out and went for a drive, checking on people and shooting some video footage. Trees were down everywhere. Power and phone lines dangled down from poles onto the ground. Ice chunks continued to rain down from on high. More branches lay across our driveway.
And yet, everywhere we went people seemed in a good mood. There was laughter and joy in the sharing of survival stories. We had lunch at the local Mexican restaurant, and saw a dozen or so friends there. Across the street at the market cars were slipping and sliding through the parking lot, but everybody was helping each other out. While people in more civilized areas seemed to be angry and offended at the weather (based on the tone of callers to local radio programs), those out here on the KP just got down to making it work.
And now it's melting, and life is returning to normal, and the kids are getting restless, and 'mom and dad can hardly wait for school to start again." I think we can even get the Kia out of the driveway. And last night I told the girls "now when you're old you can say 'I remember back to the great storm of '12, when school was closed for a week and all the trees fell down and we had to use a Jeep to get out and we all camped in the living room to stay warm by the fire.'"