Tuesday, January 17, 2006


It's about this time of year I wonder why we still choose to live in the (admittedly beautiful) Pacific Northwest. The rain, people! OMG, the rain. It's seemingly endless right now. It's been raining pretty steadily for the past MONTH. That's right, a month. Off and on, but mostly on. Seattle, in fact, just broke their previous record of consecutive number of rainy days. I think they're near 30 now of rainy days. We're close to that here. Oh sure, it comes in a variety of forms: steady rain, mist, drizzle, torrential, gusty - there are a surprisingly large number of ways to describe rain, but only one is universal: WET. And oh man, is it ever wet around here. We have sheets of water pouring over sidewalks and running down streets. All the corners are flooded because the drains get clogged and the rain just pools at intersections and forms large lakes. The ground is so saturated that I have standing water in my backyard where my lawn in supposed to be. Local parks with vast areas of grass are now big muddy lakes. What are normally small little streams have morphed into fast-moving rivers that any kayaker would love.

I know this part of the world is known for it rain. I've lived here my whole life - I'm used to it. But it's still hard to get through sometimes. I know, in my logical brain, that it's because of the rain that this area remains so green and lush and beautiful year-round. I know this, and yet, I'm sick of it. It's just so damn gray outside - unrelentingly gray. Drab. Not a hint of sunshine anywhere. Just endless gray clouds which diffuse the light. Shadows? What are those? Don't attempt to use the sun as an indicator of the time because it's impossible. Is it morning or afternoon? Who can tell!? It's the same overcast light all day long. And then it's dark. So the only colors I see are gray and green. Oh yes - lots of gorgeous green. But you can only admire it from the indoors because it's too damn wet to go outside and marvel at it's lushness. Plus, my deck is now covered in a nice green slimey algae or something from all the fucking rain so it's rather nasty to go outside anyway, even if we did see the sun for a rare minute. (and it's very slippery, too, which makes going out to, getting in and out from the hottub a rather delicate operation. The kids have both slipped and fell on their naked little butts more than once). Have I mentioned how sick I am of this cursed rain??

People who aren't from here since, say, birth or at least early childhood often can't handle the climate. They often make the mistake of assuming it's because of the copious amounts of rain, but it's not. It's the lack of sunshine. It's the gray-factor. People can handle rain, but they miss the sun. It's the sun that gives us energy and that makes everything look so beautiful and sparkly after a good rainshower. We get that, too, but right now it's the omnipresent gray, and it sucks.

And yet, despite the ocean of water that's falling from the sky, I'm still getting out of my warm bed at the early hour of 6:15am and putting on my running clothes and going out for a run. I'm not the Wicked Witch and don't melt in water. But at that hour it's still dark outside and that makes it really hard to dodge the gigantic puddles that form on the sidewalks, paths, and streets. Forget about dry shoes and socks. There are puddles today that weren't there yesterday, and they keep growing. I slogged my way through 3 miles of endless puddles this morning, and ran past a swiftly raging river that is normally a peaceful, rather slow trickle of a stream. The current now present in this little unimportant backwater is fearsome. All the ducks and other creatures you could normally see floating and swimming around have long gone - they can't handle the current. I got soaked to the bone. I wore a baseball cap in a feeble attempt to keep the rain out of my eyes and my hair as dry as possible. My cap got SOAKED. My running tights had to be peeled off my legs. My reflective windbreaker jacket might as well have been plucked from that river it was so wet. And the shirt underneath. And my jogging bras under that. It's like I stepped into my shower with all my clothes on. The run felt great once you got past the wetness. You sort of got used to it. And, as an added bonus, you get to use different muscle groups when you attempt to leap over puddles and have to do quick sideways lurches to avoid pools of standing water. Not that any of that helps to keep one inch of you dry, mind you, but you have to try.

The bright spot is the temperature. It's not cold. Just wet. I think we'll hit 50 degrees today. Very mild. We're getting good snow in the mountains, but here in the valley we're drowning. At least we're not freezing, too. But come summer, thanks to all this rain, the Pacific Northwest is going to again be gorgeous and it is then that I'll remember why I love living here so much. Because nothing beats Oregon in the summer and fall. Nothing. It's spectacular. But until then, we'll have to endure the gray, soggy winter for a few more months.

Spring break, anyone?

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