For our friends who live elsewhere, please try to understand why this is a big deal.
The Willamette Valley, flanked by the Coast and Cascade Ranges, sees its share of 40-degree rainy days during the winter months. Strong rain systems barrel in from the Pacific Ocean, packing a tremendous amount of moisture, saturating the valley and covering the mountains with snow. Rivers rise and crest, hillsides erode and slide downhill, low areas and flood plains collect water and sediment. It's all part of the ongoing cycle that gives us the lush green beauty we enjoy in later months. We're just not there yet.
It can become fairly monotonous to live with the gray. Dark gray. We get used to looking out our windows in the morning and seeing nothing but rainclouds and wet ground. We sigh, we wait, puddle-trudging, day after day. In this part of Oregon, windshield wipers sell faster than sunscreen, for sure.
Getting a sunny day like today offers some views that send a shock through us. Sometimes it can be weeks without seeing our beloved mountains: Hood, Jefferson, Adams, St. Helens. Even the foothills can go in and out of hiding. On a clear day the sun makes their fresh coats of snow look spectacular.
Things will begin to look different around here soon. The gray-brown sparseness of winter will gradually give way to greens and blooms that usher in the Spring. We'll be smelling blossoms again. Soon.
Here are some photos I took back in February 2010. Early signs of spring last year. Could these sights really only be one month away?