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Spring gets here in a flurry
The first day of spring is a time to revel in cozy sunlight, marvel at new buds bursting forth, anticipate even warmer days ahead
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 its 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 didnt miss its beauty. Ken Mann, a salesman at Frontier Chevrolet Pontiac, was pushing snow off the top of cars with a big broom. Were just trying to look like were open, he said as he shoved a load of snow onto the ground.
The work was tiring but Mann didnt mind some manual labor. Its 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 Harbors 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. Ive got them green and yellow, but no snow until today, he said. This is an artists paradise.
Sure, the first day of spring was cold and miserable, but anyone who took an objective look couldnt help but agree with Fey. There was no sunlight and the buds were buried in snow, but it did look like paradise.