where the writers are
Snow day in Portland

Walking in the urbs on a snowy evening

Twilight is creeping on. The snow takes on a blue tint. A steep city street, abandoned by wise drivers and persnickety pedestrians, is crowded with scores of kids pulling sleds and saucers all but forgotten in the backs of garages until early this morning when they were dusted off and set teetering atop the hill which suddenly appears much more daring.

Swoosh down. Run up. Down again. They’ve been at it since the first “All Portland

public schools closed” announcement and they are there still as the sky fades to black and streetlights glow steadily brighter.

Joyful is one of those words that sound antiquated and fake — like “merry” or “glorious” - but remains the best description of the noise that comes from the mouths of these snow-covered creatures of the hill. No words; just squeals and screams from the girls, and voice-cracking-attention- grabbing shouts of bravado from the teenage boys who speed down the hill too fast for mothers to look, too fast for teenage girls not to.

Teens are as stupid as they’ve always been. Boys try to shove snow down the collars of girls’ jackets. Girls try to run away. But not too hard. They get cold and wet and complain but stay.

The little kids, fearless and slightly stupid to the ways of the world and gravity, jump on plastic disks and set spinning wildly downward just missing the bumper of a parked car and simply laugh as though they have forgotten, or have not yet realized, that they are not cartoon characters who can take an anvil to the head but humans who hurt.

Dogs bark. The kids, the cold, this white stuff falling from the sky and covering all the good smells makes no sense but still tails wag.

Mittens are lost.

Someone finds a red one, wooly and nubby knit with a holy thumb, and puts it on a ski pole stuck in a pile of snow. It looks like it’s waving. It looks like it’s giving a thumbs-up sign: More snow tomorrow.

 

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