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.

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