Mother Nature Is One Big Tease!

I love snow. Always have, always will. I figure this is because I spent so many years living in Hawaii, where a “cold snap” is defined as a temperature in the lower 70s. Snow still feels like a novelty to me – a magical gift from the heavens, one that buries the world in a pristine blanket of white. Snow is purity and beauty – it erases the world’s imperfections and glosses them over, turning the landscape into a real-life Norman Rockwell painting. When it snows, anything is possible.

So, when I woke up this morning at 8:00 and opened the blinds to find everything covered in white and big, fat snowflakes falling to the ground, I leaped out of bed. Literally. And then I pressed my nose against the glass and stared, marveling over the silver dollar-sized flakes piling up so quickly. Even though my bedroom window overlooks the garage, and my view consists of a row of townhouses across the way, the whole scene looked like a winter wonderland. I quickly brushed my teeth, eager to race outside and take a walk in the snow, only to find the clouds breaking up and nothing but a few lazy flurries drifting to the ground. Drat! Foiled again. Mother Nature has been that way this winter, teasing us with snowflakes in the air, only to snatch them away the moment it begins to look like they’re going to amount to something big. This was the third time since Thanksgiving week that has happened.

2008 was our best year ever for snow!

I suppose I ought to be living in Buffalo. The only problem with that scenario? I’d be living in Buffalo. I like spicy chicken wings as much as the next guy, but Buffalo does not strike me as an ideal city to call home. I love the Pacific Northwest far too much to ever consider moving away. Unfortunately, Portland’s proximity to the mild Pacific Ocean means we don’t get a lot of snow. Rain, yes. But our average snowfall is around 5″ a year. Often, we’re lucky to get that. There are exceptions, of course. In December 2008, it snowed and snowed and snowed. We had a true white Christmas, with over a foot on the ground that day. Ended up with 18″ for the month, a record. My dad mumbled and cursed (he’s no snow lover, probably because he grew up in Trenton), but I was in heaven. If every winter gave us snow like that one, I’d be a perpetually happy camper.

Sadly, this is not the case. Everything has to come together exactly right for snow to fall in Portland. That means, 9 times out of 10, when the National Weather Service predicts snow, nothing happens. Conversely, when there’s no mention of snow in the forecast, we are occasionally surprised. Like one year ago today. Cloudy with rain, they said. Cut to late afternoon, and a surprise snowstorm that stranded motorists and gave us a couple of inches. That was a fun afternoon for me!

Usually, when it’s cold enough to snow, there’s no moisture. And when there’s plenty of moisture, it isn’t cold enough for snow. Like this coming weekend – frigid weather is moving in. It’s going to drop into the 20s at night and only the 30s during the day. But the friggin’ sun is going to be shining. What good does that do anybody?! You know what, Mother Nature? Bite me.

This is what I like to see!

There’s still plenty of winter left. It isn’t even January yet, after all. We might still end up with a good snowstorm or two. I just hope they don’t start predicting one, because if that’s the case, we’re doomed.

But enough about the weather. Today marks a record for me: it’s the longest I’ve ever kept my Christmas tree up. I’m like Mr. Fa La La La La, all gung-ho for the season…right up through Dec. 25th. The next day? It feels weird seeing Christmas decorations and lights. I don’t know why, but I’ve always felt this way. Many people – most people? – leave their tree up until New Year’s Day, at least. But in my mind, it feels like the two holidays clash. New Year’s is champagne and party favors and balls that drop and Auld Lang Syne. Christmas is lights and stockings and Santa and Hark The Herald Angels Sing. You wouldn’t hide Easter eggs on the 4th of July, right?

I rest my case.

Which is why I traditionally un-Christmas the house every Dec. 27th. This year I’ve resisted the urge to put the tree out to pasture and box everything up longer than ever before, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t bugging me a little bit more with each passing day.  Besides, to squeeze the tree into my abysmally tiny living room, I’ve had to move the Man Chair away from its cozy spot in the corner to practically the middle of the room, and that just throws the feng shui all out of whack. So, the odds of my tree and other Christmas decorations lasting until Saturday are pretty slim, but we’ll see.


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

17 thoughts on “Mother Nature Is One Big Tease!

      1. Once there is snow on the ground, do try snowshoeing! It’s so easy and fun. We did it a lot in Tahoe last year because it’s free (no lift ticket required!) and the dog could come along. I was gifted a set of Acme snowshoes years ago and they’re still in great shape. I think they go for about $100; I’m not sure how much to rent, but surely you could borrow some from a friend to check it out.

        Of course I was scuba diving on New Year’s Day… 🙂


  1. My mom will take the tree down Christmas Night. Once Christmas is over – it’s over. I keep it up until the 26th. It makes my house feel so much cleaner 🙂

    As for the snow – I live with it from October to April. It is pretty but it is over rated…just saying…


  2. “And then I pressed my nose against the glass and stared, marveling over the silver dollar-sized flakes piling up so quickly.”

    I react the same way! I LOVE snow! Especially the first of the year.

    Having lived in Florida for 20 years, I never realized how much I missed winter and snow.

    Amazingly enough, I don’t mind being cold, but my body cannot take the heat of summer.

    A few days ago, we got a blizzard here in the northeast and I was a happy little camper. Unfortunately, not everyone else felt the same way.

    I guess I’ll be moaning when June hits – UGH!


  3. Mark! Funny post.
    By the way, I GREW UP IN BUFFALO!
    (not really.)
    my weather station said 23 degrees outside this morning.
    It’s a brilliant blue and white frost day…gorgeous.

    I remember 2008–that was a lot of snow.
    the best part?
    the kids didn’t have to miss any school days!


    1. Ha – you had me going for a second there, Jane! I didn’t even mention how awful being a Bills fan would be.

      Yes, the timing in 2008 was perfect. I actually missed a couple of days of work when the office closed down. Ahh…the good ol’ days…


  4. LOL, I feel you on this. I live outside of Richmond, VA and we hardly ever get snow that really counts for anything. It usually doesn’t stick, or it does and you get really excited to play in it and then it starts sleeting or freezing rain and ruins it. Very annoying. I hardly ever pay attention to the weather report anymore because I’m just always disappointed!


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