For many weeks we thought Winter was a myth. Our days shifted quickly from having sunny skies, to those with rain clouds, and once or twice there was a good snow. But as a “season;” as an extended period of colorless cold? No, that was not the Zürich to which we are a part.
Then, about two weeks ago, the heavens shifted south. A “Siberian cold front” was pulled toward us by vengeful winds escaping Russia. You might hear “Siberian,” and scoff. It couldn’t be that bad, right? Maybe not on the first day, when temperatures in Celsius were still in the low teens. Then single digits. Then minus single digits. Then minus double digits. And then rivers begin to freeze, ponds turn into play areas, and you realize the myth which was Winter, has finally arrived.
I am not a “Winter person” if there is such a thing. Though I attended high school and college in a snow-rich region, the winter sport bug never bit me. Snow and ice seemed more like inconvenient land mines than charming phenomena for the season. How could I enjoy having to walk slowly and calculated, wet and cold? And I felt more comfortable sailing a boat than even imagining sliding down a ski slope.
If there is a redeeming quality to a Northwest US Winter, it is a relative consistency in the appearance of snow eventually. Here in Zurich, Winter has thus far brought the gloomy gray but spared the snow. Be it La Nina, El Nino, climate change, or Mayan end-of-days, the weather has shifted quickly from miserable and rainy, to miserable and cold, to briefly sunny, to stormy, in the blink of an eye. This week, the first snow fell, causing 100s of traffic accidents in a day. All seemed lost in a fuzzy blur of white. This, too, was short-lived, as La El Mayan Climate Change has done it again.