Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Record-breaking cold snap: Oregon trees don fur coats as ready-made snowmen fall from sky

Yesterday, Tuesday morning, was the official start of winter here. Not according to the TV, radio, or any kind of almanac, but according to a certain hedgehog who shall remain nameless, and who, after first popping out of her hole, ran right back into it to regroup. (That other hedgehog story you hear, the one in February, is for the ending of winter. This one’s for the beginning.)

After collecting my nerve (and another layer of clothing) I did in fact depart from the burrow, and I did so on my bike. Just to give you an indication of how cold it was, here's a couple of pictures of the typical curbside view on my way across town. [ok, one picture -- will insert second one when Blogger deigns to accept it.]

OK, I know you Canadians are bursting at the seams right now with peals of ridicule. The reason I know that is (1) I can hear you, and (2) it so happens that I lived in Ottawa for three years as an innocent child who was kidnapped and taken there from nice warm Venezuela by my own parents. So I know how you guys are about the cold. I know that routine of yours, the way you act as if it weren’t even happening. And how you laugh mercilessly at anyone with the good fortune to live south of that latitude, where a few snowflakes will send whole civilizations into a flurry of school closures.

And I’m not counting Minnesota and those other States as being south of Canada. The borderline was mis-drawn. It should have been drawn below all the frozen states and everything above that categorized as Canada, which is the Latin word for refrigeration.

As a prelude to what was to come on Tuesday, Monday afternoon we were pelted from the heavens with large white globules. Here’s a picture of them. And just to give you a sense of scale, that green plant life you see sticking up between them? Those are trees.
And if you’re still not convinced of just how cold it is here, and of just how heroic I’m being to continue riding my bike in this weather, here’s a side view of some of our larger trees, who have been forced to grow furry coats to protect themselves from the frigid conditions.
So there.


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