Wednesday, February 13, 2008

winter's last hurrah? ...maybe until april, anyway

This morning, the sun was shining in a clear blue sky, and it appeared as though we would have another spring-in-February day like yesterday and the day before yesterday, when we had high temperatures in the forties. The National Weather Service advised us not to be fooled, however, as they expected a major cold front to sweep into the area around noon, bringing with it gusty (gutsy?) winds and three to five inches of snow by midnight.

I was somewhat disappointed when twelve o'clock, one o'clock, two o'clock rolled around and no snow had fallen over Provo. The sky had become overcast, that sort of frothy white overcast that comes before a snowstorm, so I had not lost all hope. As I walked to the bus stop a little after three o'clock, a little breeze had picked up and the air was thick with that pungent storm-coming odor (that's ozone, they tell me).

By the time I got off the bus at Bulldog and State, about ten minutes later, the wind had picked up, the temperature had plummeted, and it had begun drizzling. At the intersection, I had to cross two streets to get to Quizno's at the opposite corner. When I got there I found a handwritten paper sign taped to the door that said "We are closed now. Thanks." It might have even said "Thnx." I can't remember. Anyway, uh, no thanks. If I had known it would be closed I would not have gotten off the bus. Once the streetlights had changed in sequence to let me cross the street again to head north up State Street toward home, it had begun snowing. Horizontally. Boy was that northern wind cold and gutsy. Thanks, Idaho, for passing it down.

A few hours later I headed back to campus for orchestra rehearsal, and though the snowfall had been steady, it was also light, and the ground had warmed up so much in the last few days that the only accumulation was a sparse dusting on a few patches of sidewalk. Nothing had visibly changed when I walked inside the fine arts center about twenty minutes later. I was still feeling a little let down by this storm that was supposed to exhibit "blizzard-like conditions" and result in significant accumulation.

Two hours later, I emerged from the basement rehearsal room and found what I had been hoping for all day. You know that soft hush, that sort of silence that you can feel wrap around you, that fresh snowfall lends to the world? That was what I noticed first, and that phenomenon never ceases to amaze me. Then I saw the bright white snow that carpeted the ground. I didn't take an accurate measurement, but I'd say it was at least two inches. As I crossed the bridge over Campus Drive, looking toward the mountains, I got a good look at the sky. It was that nighttime snowfall color, that eerily beautiful, electric dusty pink.

It is days like these that the idea of studying meteorology gets to me again. But at this point I think that it is one of those things that sometimes seems appealing, but that I will avoid diving into fully for fear of losing sight of the fun, like maybe ignorance of the specifics is key to the wonder.

It is still snowing. And I am still smiling.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

sometimes i like to pretend that i am a photographer

On Saturday afternoon I hopped on the 830 bus and headed "downtown" in an effort to speed up Netflix communications. After dropping my recently-viewed copy of The Fog of War into the blue metal belly of a mailbox with Saturday pickup, I began heading toward Smith's to pick up a few groceries.

Before I had traversed the three or four blocks to Smith's, I got distracted. It's not like I was in any hurry, anyway, and I had thought to bring my camera just in case something caught my eye.

So, now I share with you some of the scenes that caught my eye. Please join me in my wanderings around forgotten Provo.

reasons why i have not been blogging

1) I escaped for a few days to California for Jack's first birthday.
2) Shortly after recovering from my first cold of the season, which lasted about three weeks, I caught another one.
3) I have been spending too much time following the presidential campaigns and primary elections. No, seriously.
4) I finally decided that it was about time to start studying for my master's exam. I crammed for a couple of weeks, and everything that I read during that time blurred together. A few days before the exam, I realized how much of the reading list remained neglected, and I became ill and sleepless from anxiety. The day of the exam, I re-read old exams from my courses, and I reviewed Bécquer's Rimas during the 12-minute bus ride to campus, where, I was nearly convinced, I would face my doom. Then I read the questions and I laughed. I realized that the word "comprehensive", as it is used to describe the specialty exam, is pretty much a big joke. I breathed a little sigh of relief and began writing. Four hours later, I was done. Now there's just this little thing called a thesis to worry about.
5) I have been reading this bizarre book called The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. I bought it at a yard sale in Chicago mostly because I was drawn to the absurdity of the title.
6) I have been wandering around south Provo with my camera. I think I'll post a few pictures soon.