I was surprised to get a phone call from James this morning not 15 minutes after he’d left for work. “You have to get down here!” he said.
Unused to such phone calls while he’s still in the midst of his morning ride, I was a little worried that something bad had happened–a crash, an unfixable bike issue. But no. “It’s a winter wonderland down here!” he exclaimed.
At our house, it was cold and white-looking through the windows, the cars on the street covered with frost. But further west, almost exactly at SE 26th street, the cold turned into actual ice/snow on the ground. Seriously. There was almost exactly a line where the dry ground ended and the white ground began.
People slowed down; not only a few cyclists opted to take the somewhat slippery turn from SE 21st onto SE Ladd (or vice versa) at a walk. The tenor of the commute was way different–people made eye contact. They smiled. They went way more slowly, both bikes and cars. It felt like people were looking out for each other, surprised into a different frame of mind by the unexpected square mile or so of “snow.”
All through Ladd’s Addition, it looked like winter, yet the sky was already showing hints of future (very cold:) blue skies:
Aside from one fellow behind me who wiped out on the turn into Ladd’s (he was okay), it seemed like everyone was doing fine. It wasn’t actually that bad, just unusual enough to make people pause.
And then, as quickly as the snow had appeared, it was gone. After crossing SE 12th by Hawthorne, the ground was dry again, the white relegated only to the clouds of my breath swirling around my face. If I hadn’t biked back through it to get home again later (and if I hadn’t taken pictures:), I would have almost believed I’d made the whole thing up.
But lest you think that was the end of the cool weather, there was more. At the Hawthorne bridge, where downtown usually looms across the river, it seemed like the whole of Portland had been swallowed.
I couldn’t help but take a tour around both sides of the river, loving the ridiculous calm of the water and the crazy interplay of trying-to-be-blue skies and thick, thick clouds.
It was a lovely introduction into today. Welcome (again, and again), oh changeable weathers of Portland:)
(more pictures here)