Occasional micro-climate aberrations tell me so
5 February 2011
Winter has been mild in the Pacific Northwest, evenings recently remained in 50′s. In fact, average monthly temperatures for January were four degrees warmer than typical. In the last month, precipitation literally passed us by, falling far east instead in the Coeur d’Alene and Bitterroots of Idaho. This is not to say that we were in a drought. Far from it. Still, while the eastern three-quarters of the United States lies buried in snow and seems brittle to the touch from a deep freeze, Portland experienced spring-like weather.
From my window today, daphne sprout their pink tubes, their pale lobes still snapped shut. Along the street, daffodils are up four inches, their bulbs fat and moist from last spring’s rains. The fall detritus layers and folds and slices and gathers in flower beds, drifts at the curb. Lichen clings to the trunk and branches of our poplar. The shift is on.
While there’s been little rain recently, there was surplus in December. On balance, we’re just about on target for the rain year – we’re in the rhythms of the Pacific Northwest’s water cycle. That is why, in spite of a dry and warm spell, my daffodils will bloom tall and yellow, our red maple will add bulk and height, perhaps two more feet, our neighbors’ Douglas fir will send out feather-soft, pale-green shoots from every branch and pine cones will hang and bounce in the wind come August. I can say all this because I know my neighborhood and watershed and Portland’s geographic good fortune are OneThing.