Monday, December 20, 2010


We have no snow in Texas.  Well, at least in the Dallas area, there isn't.  In fact, I walked the dogs in a tank top today.  Now some of you might be thinking "How grand!".  No.  No, it isn't.  It's just wrong for December.

I remember dustings of snow, snow showers, snow flurries and all out nor'easters in Portland, ME.  Downtown, they'd issue a parking ban and everyone would have to rush and get their cars off the streets before the plows started their overnight work.  On those mornings, Matt would haul himself out of bed to recover the car parked blocks away near the waterfront.  Somehow, I was saved from this trek - he's a better snow driver than I am anyhow.  At least, that's how I justified it in my mind.

The snow and the cold weather was a part of each day.  You'd plan for it and get excited about discussing what storm might be blowing in with your friends and coworkers.  There would be plans made around the weather and the gear required for each day's events.  I had these special rubber attachments to the soles of my boots that had metal spirals and spikes.  These gave extra traction on the icy sidewalks and streets.  Snow chains for my feet!

There were days so cold that even Mainers stayed indoors.  The wind chill was far below zero and gusts would blow ice crystals into your face.  For these mornings I would wear sunglasses, (very important to keep eyes moist in the face of wind, and snowglare at a minimum), gloves, scarf, hat, long underwear, fleece, pants over long underwear, wool socks, boots, ski jacket.  And cell phone.  Always a cell phone.  You never know what can happen even in town in weather like that.

We lived near the water, a stone's throw from Casco Bay.  With the windows open, the foghorns from the closest lighthouse could be heard, guiding ships in through the fog.  We could smell the sea air every day.  Our apartment was located at the highest point in Portland, just under the Portland Observatory, so walking to it or away from it meant a hill in some form or other.  On these especially cold days, I knew I could walk Nyxie  safely.  With two dogs wary of other dogs, and one wary of all strangers, this is akin to going to the dog park in the rain!  I had the run of icy, residential Portland.  Arwen stayed behind, content to rest on her dog bed and be thankful for not being born in Siberia.   (She's an odd Sibe, who's never shown any excitement about the cold).  So Nyxie and I would walk down the center of each street, headed towards the waterfront.  The ice particles would swirl all around us and Nyxie's ears would flick at each icy onslaught.  Aside from the wind, she never showed any cold weather reluctance.  She would dance and jump at the end of the leash, diving into snow drifts and inspecting each white-covered shape.

Eastern Promenade is the road that faces Casco Bay.  Lined with stately New England mansions and B&B's, the view of the water is glorious.  The Bay sits across a vast expanse of snowy hills that lead to the dog beach, a small marina and a city park.  We'd reach this area and Nyxie would bound into the snow, headlong,  tongue lolling.  I would throw snow balls for her and she's lose them with a snowy CLOMP of her jaws, then spend a great amount of energy trying to dig them back out of the snow.  Snow-digging was magical to her!  Meanwhile, I would start to lose the feelings in my legs, my hands and my cheeks just below my sunglasses.  My L.L Bean boots were made for snow, but even they were struggling when Nyxie would shower them with powder.  She discovered that digging for my feet in the snow was a new game, and no matter where I'd jump to, she'd be a step behind me tossing snow with her great big paws until she found my red snow boots.  The walks back and forth from the Bay were lessons in walking manners.  I had her sit and wait at each block's end before crossing the street.  "What do good dogs do?", I'd ask.  And she would sit in answer, looking to me, all the while with what must have been a frozen doggie bottom.  I often wondered about that, but she never seemed to mind!

How I miss Portland, the people, the snow, the weather, and the ocean.  There's a palpable ache in my heart if I allow myself to think too long about my life there.  So I try and remember that although I loved it there, I can love it here, too.  Or at least like it.  I walked my dogs in a tank top today.  I suppose that's pretty cool in its on way.  But most importantly, I walked my dogs.  And wherever I am with them will be just fine.



  1. Great post, the Momster misses her days in New England too, although the winters in western MA are nothing compared to those in ME. Now she just hopes all the time for no snow, but we sibes are just wishing and hoping for some to come soon.

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  2. Cool post. You made us feel like we were there. Mom misses the snow in NJ, but the beauty of this place can't be beat.
    Benny & Lily

  3. Mom says she be more than happy to be wearing a tank top rite now! I prefer that too coz I can't lay on the deck furry long werking on my tan in the winter coz it be too cold. The minit it warms up, we be out there sunning! How much longer until spring comes?

  4. Sorry you aren't having any snow, but at least then, transportation, flights won't be cancelled!!

  5. Someday I'll get back to Maine -

    I enjoyed trips there as a young pup and then as a grownup!

    I know Khyra would love it too!

    Thanks for sharing the imagery!

    Khyra's Mom

  6. So well-written! It made me appreciate our weather a bit more, even if it makes me miserable for the next 4 months...

  7. Merry Christmas to you!!! We agree that colder weather is much, much better than warm weather. I have dreams of moving to Alaska one day.:)

    Teddy Bear


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