Thursday’s would-be blizzard quickly turned to Slurpee in the streets – too soggy for a sled, too wet to make angels, too cruel to aim a snowball at a neighbor’s ear.
But this dense and dripping slush turned out to be perfect for another cold-weather pastime:
With their power cut, their houses dark and their iPads temporarily unavailable, Triangle residents sought creative outlets by shaping elaborate creatures out of their front yards.
On Peachleaf Street in North Raleigh was an 8-foot dragon, its tail wrapped around its body, a pair of glowing green tennis balls for eyes. Marc Hollingsworth toiled for four hours, attracting a crowd of random gawkers.
Downtown, someone else constructed a full-sized snow person performing a handstand, a pair of blue running sneakers on its snow feet and the number 151 attached to its snow torso in sticks.
But the frozen creation I’m crowning king came from Jessica Richardson, the night guard in the Wells Fargo building on Fayetteville Street, who crafted a near-perfect snow Yoda on the skyscraper’s front patio as snow fell at 3 a.m. Thursday.
She managed the details down to his three-fingered hands, ears jutting triumphantly from his football-shaped head. Awesome, it was.
“He used to have a light saber,” said Richardson, 25. “But that thing fell off at about 4 a.m.”
All over Raleigh, the snow people wore Carolina Hurricanes jerseys, bikinis, grass skirts and carnations. Outside the Sheraton on Fayetteville Street, the snow greeter had what appeared to be a gift card for complimentary wine pinned to its chest.
They sported pine needles for hair, plastic forks for hands and hard pretzels for eyes. One 4-year-old child rode a snow snail, accurate down to the antennae. Some inspired snow artisan built a complete Lego figure.
On the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, students ventured from the warmth of their dorms to check out the various creatures sculpted on McCorkle Place between Franklin Street and the Old Well, where a small snow couple warmed the bench under the Davie Poplar.
One snowman stood nearly 12 feet tall, beckoning fans who posed for selfies.
But by midday, their carrot noses lay dislodged at their feet, and their stick arms returned to their places on the wet and snow-free ground.
Nothing cold can stay.
Staff writer Anne Blythe contributed to this column.