There were a few snow flurries this morning.  Nothing major.  The cold weather is here.  I can’t help wishing it would snow a little more, if only so I can experience the awesomeness that is our local snowpocalypse reporting.

Portland isn’t used to snow.  At all.  When a few inches fall, everything grinds to a halt.  Traffic slows to a crawl.  Not only do schools cancel classes–churches cancel Sunday services, which is baffling to my religious midwestern friends.  And our local news kicks into breaking news mode worthy of a terrorist attack.

The reporters are out in force, braving the snowflakes, wrapped in arctic explorer coats, snow pants, hats and goggles.  They measure the snow with rulers, apparently never having been told that snowdrifts get blown around by the wind and so this probably isn’t the most accurate way to measure accumulation.  Winter drama ensues.  Cars slide off roads.  Kids make tiny snowmen.  Trains stop running–I have no idea how our train system would even function if it had to run anywhere but on the West Coast.  One of my favorite TV moments ever involved a female journalist walking up to a man who was shoveling snow off the sidewalk and praising him for the “heroic work” he was doing.  The guy, who just happened to be from Chicago, almost died laughing.

So yeah, it’s all…kind of embarrassing, actually.  But it’s still more entertaining than run of the mill reality television.  Bring on the deadly snow!

I don’t know if it’s global warming or cooling, don’t know if it’s long-term climate change, man-made or just a freak natural occurrence, but my corner of the world has gotten colder and rainier over the past few years.  And yes, I know, it’s the Pacific Northwest—it’s cold and rainy.  But I moved here back in the mid-90s and I remember the weather being very different:  milder temps in the winter and summer, more sun in the spring.

Now, the winters are getting frostier.  We are running the heat more.  January-style rain and wind continue through the spring and all the way into the start of summer, with cold snaps which threaten our backyard veggie garden.  The weather is very unstable, with more thunderstorms and hail, more sudden storms.  When the sun finally does kick in, things turn hot quickly.  I have memories (maybe delusional ones?) of weeks and weeks of temps in the 70s…now they go from highs in the mid-50s straight into the upper 80s, and in turn we end up running the AC more than we used to.

Again, I don’t necessarily see any kind of abnormal trend here.  For all I know, this is a natural process of climate flux.  (I’m still hoping it’s temporary).   All I know is that our climate is gradually becoming more of a northern one.  I have sometimes fantasized of living in Scandinavia, but come on.  Still, even if there is an Ice Age apocalypse approaching, the Northwest remains a lot milder than most places out there.  I just miss the perfectly temperate Paradise I remember…or, perhaps, have only imagined in a fit of nostalgia.