Snow Day in Austin

It snowed in Austin today.

I sleepily pulled the right cord on the blinds this morning, expecting the sun to stream in as it usually does. But there it was: a temperamental mix of precipitation – sometimes a softer rain but then shifting to a crisp sleet giving way to large flakes of snow. I grabbed my camera, hoping to capture some dramatic shot of my morning view dotted with big white spots against a uniformly gray sky but by then it was back to a rainy chilly icy mix that failed to make much of an impression.

I soon left to run errands, thinking that brief glimpse was as good as it was going to get. The wintry mix continued, sometimes angrily pelting my car as I drove down the highway, slowing to a more patient rain when I pulled up to a light. I stepped out onto a slushy pavement and handed over my car for an oil change. The freezing rain lightly stung as it bounced off my head.

It was still rainy during my drive to the gym. But as I drove west, I started to see a lot more cars with snow piling up on them. By the time I looked out the window while walking onto the second floor, I saw big flakes swooping down from left to right onto the parking lot. They covered cars, they hugged trees, they joined the slush party on the sidewalk.

My car was wet when I walked out but had no snow on it. It was just a bit too warm for much to collect there. But blades of grass poked through beds of white, medians covered in reddish brown woodchips were frosted, and rooftops across the city were suddenly monochromatic.

The temperature had dropped a bit by the time I drove home along South Congress. Real snowflakes shifted directions across the roadway. Pedestrians walked in bewilderment, sometimes annoyed, sometimes awed by the sight. It doesn’t snow much in central Texas in late February. Two days ago, it was 76 degrees here. They buried their necks into their inadequate jackets, they tunneled their fingers into the scraggly gloves they’d dug out from some musty box in deep storage.

I stepped out to check my mail. As I walked back to the car, a fluffy clump of snowflakes settled onto my left eyebrow. I let them take their own sweet time to melt.

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