As you probably haven't heard, because California's admittedly more serious drought has overshadowed ours in the news, the Pacific Northwest this summer has very much NOT been its characteristic rainy self. Actually--and no one from outside the region ever believes this, but it's true--we usually do get dry summers. It's normal for the grass in Seattle to have turned brown by August. But this year the drought started in spring, kept up relentlessly, and was coupled with unusual heat that also persisted week after week. Leaves have been turning brown and falling off in great enough numbers that I had to rake in early August. That is NOT normal.
But! On Friday it rained! In fact, it freaking poured. It had rained a little, a couple of times, between May and now, but only enough to sprinkle the air and make it muggy. It was nothing like this. After so many months suffering from the heat wave, I experienced such a surge of happiness that it felt almost like I was in love with the rain.
Making it better still, my family and I were on our way to Mount Rainier for the weekend when the storm moved in. We rolled down the car windows and inhaled the gorgeous mossy fragrance of Rainier's thick evergreen forests freshly drenched with rain. Our rental cabin had a hot tub, so we got to relax in steaming water with cool rain filtering through the trees above us and dripping on our heads. We got to fall asleep with the gentle sound of raindrops pattering on the cabin roof.
Getting drenched at Paradise Inn:
Then yesterday the clouds cleared, so we could actually SEE the mountain, which was a plus too. Best of both worlds.
Being in love with the rain isn't a new feeling for me. You can probably tell I don't like hot weather anyway. In fact, I could live without it being above 80 F (27 C) ever again in my life. It's part of why I live in the Northwest: not only is the cool, wet cloudiness what I'm used to, having been born here, but it's what I like. (Some people are born here and end up loving hot, dry weather best. Others are born in hot, dry places and love cool climates best. I'm convinced it's not a "nurture" issue, or at least not entirely, but more of a taste/preference issue.)
While I'm on the subject, I will share with you two other times that come to mind in which I felt in love with rain:
1) Davis, California, November 2001: Since it was central California, it basically didn't rain at all from April through October, and was hellishly hot as well. We got all the way to November before a proper drenching rain swept in. That morning when I got up for class, in the dark (an 8:00 a.m. section means getting up in the dark in November), I didn't mind the earliness or the darkness at all. My heart was soaring. I opened the bathroom window and inhaled the sweet rain scent. I biked to class in the dark, in the rain, and adored every second of it. Yes. In love.
2) London, England, August 1995: It was my first visit to the U.K., with my parents and younger sister. Our ten-day stay unfortunately coincided with an unusual heat wave. Like the Pacific Northwest, Britain doesn't have air conditioning in most buildings because they "don't need it," so that made things even more uncomfortable. But on our last evening there, back in London after the week's bus tour around Great Britain, the heat eased and a gentle rain began falling. My sister and I danced in the hotel parking lot in it. Experiencing rain in England: I mean, come on, that's a must.
Am I still in love with rain after it's been around for three months straight? Well, no. Or at least, less so. Variety is the key here; that's the thing. But I do get tired of heat a lot faster. Now our forecast calls for another week of dry warmth...sigh. Oh my lover rain, you were fabulous, but I'd like to see you a little more often this time of year.