In May 2015, I moved from Arizona’s sunniest city to Seattle, Washington. As a perfect summer in Seattle progressed, my worry about the sure to be coming onslaught of rain and dreary winter increased. I likened it to my time waiting for winter in Germany, when I lived on the Eastern side of the country, just a quick skip to the border of the Czech Republic. I wasn’t sure what to expect there, I had never experienced a place where the sun would disappear completely for weeks or months on end. Where the sky turned into clouds, rain and snow.
“Oh it doesn’t really get cold there, the rain just gets cooler,” and “it never really snows, but if it does it’s quick and the entire city shuts down!” I heard others say about Seattle.
I grew up in Arizona, and then moved to Fort Collins, Colorado where I lived for eight years before returning to Arizona. Fort Collins is known to have an average of some 300 day of sunshine a year and it quickly reappeared after a bad storm, but it was essentially the cold, snow and wind that pushed me away. Humans adapt to change and weather, as I did, again in Germany and I pushed on as winter settled into Germany in 2010. My world turned bitter cold, I found myself snuggling up in my tiny dorm room with wine, chocolates and lots of German books. I holed up in coffee shops, or bed and read piles of German books. Many pairs of my shoes felt the ache of the winter weather too and suffered from the uneven cobblestone streets and constant slush. I gained some 15 pounds that winter.
In Seattle I have to learned to maneuver a new kind of winter. After a dry summer, October rolled around and I begin to panic, I worried that the sun wouldn’t return again. Memories of that cold German winter lingered in the back of my head. In November many of the golden, red and yellow leaves still clung to the trees. It hadn’t gone below freezing so I stubbornly kept trying to wear my flats well into the weather change. I’ve since realized the importance of waterproof boots.
Just after payday and a storm warning of at least 5 full days of pouring rain and heavy winds, I purchased rubber boots. It’s taken me at least 10 years to agree with the notion that there is no such thing as bad weather, or bad situations, there is only a lack of preparedness (and clothing) for situations. I began to figure that out on hiking trips in Colorado.
I watch the squirrels running around in the pouring rain just as if it were a sunny day in the summer. I watch the joggers on the trail, bundled in their rain jackets and waterproof pants, blissfully making their way through the rain with minimal clothing and often no rain coat. They embrace the rain. The pumpkin spice lattes and seasonal beers make their way around, and the seasonal fruits and vegetables change at the markets.
Last night I pulled on my cozy knee-high rubber boots and trudged through the mud and rain to take Hank out for a walk. He’d been on a potty-strike, refusing to go outside.
I’ve found the rain a useful time to sit down and write, next to a heater with a cup of tea, though. It’s no wonder they call Seattle a place for writers. I did finish my little novel here, (currently in its editing stages). So far, the rain hasn’t dampened my love of rain and reminds me of my times spent in Ireland. It has proved tough to make plans for a good hike, though. Sitting here now I can hear the water pouring off the buildings, in buckets down into mini ponds of water, pooling up in puddles of mud. I don’t think it’s going to stop for another few days.