In the spirit of the old True Confessions magazine, I must confess that the last week of snow and ice on Whidbey Island was entirely my fault.
Sunday afternoon, Feb. 20, was dry and the clouds were light over my house. The football season was over, I can’t tell one basketball team from another, Comcast took away my Mariners channel last year so if there was any spring training coverage I couldn’t watch it, all of which left me with entirely nothing to do.
“Time for some fresh air,” I told the dog, who had been nuzzled into his blanket next to the TV since November, so I took the dog, a bucket and dishwashing soap outside to wash the cars. I found the cars underneath several months of accumulated mud and muck, connected the hose and went to work.
Two hours later the dog was entirely saturated and the cars looked like cars again. You could even tell they were different colors, one silver and one burgundy, whereas before they had both been dark mud in hue. It hardly entered my mind that I might have offended the spirits of the Northwest by washing a car before July when it stands a fair chance of staying clean for several days. The clouds quickly thickened overhead, the wind picked up and with a chill in our bones, the dog and I went inside to dry out.
The gods of Whidbey, apparently angered by the sight of two clean cars, summoned layer upon layer of clouds blown in by the wind, and then fetched cold air from the north. Whidbey’s gods are rather slow, working on island time, so this took a couple of days. But by early Wednesday morning the punishment had arrived.
The snow was beautiful, even in the dark of the morning, and the cars were still clean under their white blankets. I decided to drive the burgundy one, figuring it would stay cleaner longer. But in my heart I knew that both sparkling clean cars were soon return to their natural color of Northwest mud.
Mine wasn’t the first car on the road, and it passed many others heading south, all sloshing a combination of slush, road crew dirt and natural muck onto my car. There was no way to avoid it, and 20 miles later my shining burgundy car arrived in Coupeville looking like a mobile mud pile. Soon enough we had to drive the silver car, which also became a four-wheeled mudmobile.
Last weekend came cleansing rain, and once again the cars were recognizable. But Monday morning the gods gave me a final lesson, stirring up a literal blizzard confined to an area three square blocks around my house. I drove into the blizzard in a muddy, burgundy automobile, and a quarter mile later I was driving a big pile of mud.
Today both cars are covered in mud and the weather forecasters have no idea what’s going to happen over the next few days. I personally predict an improvement in the weather because I’m not washing the cars again until the 4th of July. Get ready for snow on July 5.