News

Spring gets here in a flurry

Mike, Mark and Page Waterman of Coupeville — pictured with Rusty the Dog — had fun throwing snowballs at each other and a News-Times photographer on the first day of spring. Their mother, Kristi Waterman, said the kids were on their second set of dry clothes. - Rick Levin
Mike, Mark and Page Waterman of Coupeville — pictured with Rusty the Dog — had fun throwing snowballs at each other and a News-Times photographer on the first day of spring. Their mother, Kristi Waterman, said the kids were on their second set of dry clothes.
— image credit: Rick Levin

Aaah, spring.

The first day of spring is a time to revel in cozy sunlight, marvel at new buds bursting forth, anticipate even warmer days ahead …

Dream on.

When spring arrived in Island County on March 20, 2002, it was a time to shiver, shovel snow off cars, slide down the highway, cancel or delay school, and, for the unfortunate ones, a time to slide into a ditch and wait for a tow truck.

This spring arrived not with sunshine and buds, but with the final blast of a winter that had already been unusually heavy in the snow department. Island County schools often go for years without calling a snow day, but it’s happened several times in the winter — and now, spring.

All of Whidbey Island received snow beginning Tuesday evening and continuing through much of Wednesday. The further north, the worse — or better — it was, depending on your perspective.

Drivers coming up the island noticed a light dusting of snow in Freeland turn into a covering of the ground in Greenbank. By the time Coupeville arrived, trees were aching with the weight of snow on their branches and a couple of inches covered rooftops and lawns. Ten miles later, in Oak Harbor, maybe four inches of the white stuff had to be scraped off stairs and cars before people could begin their work days.

Although the snow was an inconvenience, people didn’t miss its beauty. Ken Mann, a salesman at Frontier Chevrolet Pontiac, was pushing snow off the top of cars with a big broom. “We’re just trying to look like we’re open,” he said as he shoved a load of snow onto the ground.

The work was tiring but Mann didn’t mind some manual labor. “It’s beautiful,” he said. He added that the scenery was even more spectacular earlier in the morning when he left his Taylor Road residence for work. “Our house was beautiful,” he said.

Equally enthralled by the snow was Mark Fey, who was the lone soul in Oak Harbor’s Smith Park, a haven for the Garry oaks after which the city is named. Fey walked among the soaring, twisting, gnarly, snow-clad branches of the oaks and took pictures with his digital camera.

“This is phenomenal,” said Fey. He had opened his Discount Party Store early that morning, then left it to the manager to run so he could take snow pictures for a multi-media series he is creating on the oaks in Smith Park. “I’ve got them green and yellow, but no snow until today,” he said. “This is an artist’s paradise.”

Sure, the first day of spring was cold and miserable, but anyone who took an objective look couldn’t help but agree with Fey. There was no sunlight and the buds were buried in snow, but it did look like paradise.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 22 edition online now. Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates