Story and Photos by: Ben McBee
Snow seems to be an occurrence that elicits a wide variety of feelings in Eugene. Some, who perhaps have never even seen this fluffy precipitation, look on it with a sense of wonder. Others, who may have come to Oregon with the intention of leaving behind their wintry home, see it as a hassle, especially in a city so ill-equipped to handle a mere foot of snow. Classes get cancelled, which the majority of students, myself included, cannot argue with. However, when winter storms take it to the next level, dropping a kind of rain Eugene is surprisingly not very familiar with, the consensus is nearly unanimous dislike.
The beginning of February 2014 will leave a lasting impression on the memories of the residents of Eugene. Downed power lines and long spells without power left many feeling sour over the course of that weekend. Those struggles paled in comparison to those unlucky few who just happened to park under the wrong tree. Many houses experienced what happens to branches when they become to heavy to bear the additional weight of a thick coating of ice.
Even with all of the destruction that freak winter storm brought, there was a brighter side to the situation that may have gone unacknowledged by most. With a not so warranted push outside by the lack of electricity in my apartment, I found myself walking the deserted streets with my camera in hand. I had never seen Eugene look so uniquely picturesque. It is hard to deny the beauty of ice-coated trees, glistening as if they were made of glass. Abandoned bicycles become crystalline sculptures, with icicles hanging off the handlebars. Flowers are encapsulated like tiny snow globes, frozen spheres of vibrant color. I truly realized the beauty of Eugene’s winter wonderland once the sun went down. Streetlights made the trees sparkle like they were actually made of diamond. The reflection of a police car’s sirens refracted through the branches casting them in a purple light.
The ice may have been a headache for a majority of the people it affected, but some of the most gorgeous things are often accompanied by destruction. Freezing rain definitely falls into this category, however the key to appreciating it is looking past the discomfort to notice the little things.