#SOL18 On the Cusp of February

For approximately 4 hours this morning, the sun came out and the sky was blue. I pushed everything to one side of my desk, tossed my schedule out the window, and my cardio training goals (and gym plans) out the window. I was going for a walk, dammit.

In winter in the Pacific Northwest (PNW), this seems to happen a lot. The sun comes out and plans change. People go outside. At this time of winter in the East, we would be pawing at the ground like hoofed creatures, trying to break into the frozen earth. Trying to wish the dirty snow away. We’d be sick of the cold, and anywhere but outside. Here, it’s not the cold so much as it is the rawness that creeps into your bones.

A few weeks ago, the stove repair guy– here on his 6th visit– told me his grandmother had the best oven in the world. It was big, he told me, drawing its outline with his arms to show that it would take up most of my kitchen. “Like a– how you say, pizza oven?” he asked. He is from Russia. He told me how he and his sister would get home from school in the winter, frozen to the bone and the oven would be going, the smell of bread spreading through the whole house. The adults threw mattresses on top of the oven; it was the warmest place on earth he said; they’d crawl up there and just soak in the heat.

Not like yesterday. Yesterday the rain didn’t start until early afternoon, but it was a lashing rain with a windy, bitter edge. I know because I was making soup for dinner and needed an onion. How can you make soup without onions?  My husband arrived home with tales of flooded streets and massive puddles. He rides his bicycle to work so is a trustworthy reporter. Last night he held up the rain pants he’d just taken off. “Here,” he said, “feel this.” He gestured for me to feel the inside of the leg. I declined. After a lot of internal debating, I suited up and got my onions.

It doesn’t rain all day here. Most days, there’s a stretch where it’s only gray. Sometimes you can see a patch of blue sky or a grayish glow of the sun trying to escape clouds. Sometimes, you wake up and soon after, the clouds clear, the sky is miraculously blue, and there it is– the sun.

That was how it was this morning. Still, I grabbed my rain jacket on the way out. For forty minutes, I strode up and down streets I haven’t walked before. I investigated people’s gardens. As I walked, I told myself little jokes.

Q: How can you tell you live in the Pacific Northwest (PNW)?

A: On a cloudy morning, two neighbors stand talking in a garden. It begins to rain. The neighbors keep talking.

But look what’s happening, in gardens and yards all around. Here, on the cusp of February, things are beginning to bloom.





Slice of Life is the weekly Story Challenge on Two Writing Teachers. Come write along with us!



2 responses to “#SOL18 On the Cusp of February”

  1. The infamous gray skies of the PNW give me pause every time I think about migrating northwestward. I love how you capture the atmosphere of Portlandia, and I’m anticipating you’ll bask in the lovely summers of Oregon in a few short months.

    • Karen says:

      Thinking about moving northwestward, eh? I’d be lying if I said the weather didn’t get to me, but it got to me on the east coast too. There’s always room for one more in PDX!

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