Wishing for 'snow'

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By Travis Mayfield

Walking the dog through our Seattle neighborhood over the last few days has been a walk through one of my favorite childhood memories, the blooming of the cherry trees.

It doesn't snow much on the Oregon Coast. But during one week of every year it used to seem like it was snowing to me.

My family moved to Reedsport Oregon in time for me to begin kindergarten there. We left the summer before I would have gone to 8th grade. Our front yard was one of those neighborhood yards where kids gathered to play tag, transformers or to slip-n-slide. We had a swing and a climbing tree.

Right in the middle of the yard was a massive flowering cherry tree. Most of the year that tree served as second base for our ball games. But every Spring that tree would burst into the most brilliant pink flowers I had ever seen. I was so enthralled by those flowers I used to pick them, bind them, and give them to people I loved (like mom or grandma). One year I even tried to sell them from a little stand on the edge of our street (though only mom and grandma bought any).

Generally it didn't take long for the blooms to fade and the petals to fall, leaving our tree a trusty second base once again. But one March I remember standing in the yard by myself after school when a sudden wind storm rushed through the neighborhood.

There was no rain, no thunder, and no lightening. 

It was just a strong steady wind.

Suddenly before my eyes I saw nothing but swirling snow. As these large flakes, caught up in the downdraft, danced I vividly remember spinning in place looking, looking and trying to take it all in.

As I stopped however, I realize they weren't flakes of snow, but millions of pink petals.

Within seconds every surface was covered, every bush, every blade of grass, even the other climbing tree. The petals were literally beginning to drift and pile. There were so many of them and they fell from the tree so quickly they were actually behaving like snow.

It was one of those magical moments that will probably never happen again, but that will be etched forever in my memory.

Every year after that until we moved, I would try my hardest to be outside at the exact moment the first petals from our tree began to fall.

This week the cherry trees that line the streets in our Montlake neighborhood are in full bloom.  This morning as I walked a light breeze began to blow and my heart began to race.

That breeze quickly died away and only a few petals fell.

Still, I can’t help but hope this might be the year I’ll again be caught in the ‘snow.’ 

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