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In the Still of the Night

As the snow finally melts away and the slush of traffic starts to pick up, it feels like we Portlanders are now waking up from a week of hibernation. I received an automated call from Portland Public Schools last night, not to warn me about school being canceled again, but instead letting me know that school is actually back on.

Having gone to school in Boston where 4-5 feet of snowfall overnight maybe meant a late opening, I can understand the lack of empathy from those outside of Portland, for our city that shut down for a week due to less than a foot of snow. Having 2 young daughters, ages 2 and 6, I can understand the stir crazy folks within our city, who can’t bear one more day of school closures. While I can understand how devastating this snow was for so many individuals and businesses, I’m not fighting City Hall on this one. To me, this is yet another quirky thing about living in Portland that emphasizes the value of living simply.

This was the most snow Portland got in almost 30 years. It shut the city down. Buses and trains stopped running, planes were grounded, I still don’t recall seeing or hearing even a single snow plow. A good sized American city of just under 1 million people, completely shut down for 5 days. Being candid, I found it marvelous. Kids breaking bedtime routines to run around together outside. Adults dropping what needed to get done that night to go out and be kids again. Neighbors sharing hot cocoa and coffee out in the streets. Igloos, forts and snowpeople being built together. Sleds, skis and snowboards, bringing about more adventure, laughter, and free-spirited living. The inability to use cell phones with winter gloves on was glorious. Growing up watching Saved by the Bell, this snowfall was a much appreciated Zach Morris Time Out Button.


This spirit of being more present to appreciate the goodness that is right in front of me is a big part of living Fully. There’s so much goodness that I unintentionally tune out everyday. There’s nothing like a snow day to help me reflect on that.


Ben Oh