Maybe Mother Nature needed to be appeased, satisfied when Governor Gregoire declared a snow emergency. Or maybe the Fates demanded acknowledgement from thoroughly snarled Christmas travel and shopping throughout the Northwest. Or, perhaps, it was just a last jab from the dismal spirit behind 2008.
Whatever the reason, the temperatures finally began to rise today and skies began to drizzle familiar rain. The snow softened; cars literally sank into the snowpack covering the roads. I could drive along the streets hands-free, the wheels steering themselves along the deep ruts. The gullies filled with icy slurry on the hills, and cars began to accumulate along the side streets, unable to climb home.
The plows finally appeared this morning, and the roads have become passable enough that mail (absent for days), package delivery (absent a week), and garbage collection (absent since the 11th) can resume. Predictions are that life will return towards normal by next weekend, just in time for my departure for the Netherlands.
Despite it all, this has been one of the least stressful holiday periods in recent memory. The cards got out, the presents were shipped, the decorating and baking got done as always. But the usual sense of being pressed and rushed was almost entirely absent.
I’m not sure why. It’s the first Christmas where the children haven’t all been here, but I can’t imagine that would have an impact. Maybe everyone got philosophical about only expecting things to be done when, and if, they could be done. But it’s been a nice change.