Well folks, I think we earned this one.
Most Northwesterners on the wet side of the Cascades are probably looking at the weather forecast this week the way a kid looks at a calendar near the end of the school year – with ridiculous anticipation and a large amount of giddiness. Minds are running amuck with thoughts of trails to be ridden, plants to be planted, and tents begging to be slept in. Just yesterday I checked the forecast and saw what I think is the first week since last summer where a little sunshine icon is peeking out on all seven days.
Thank you, Mother Nature. This is no small feat the way things have been going.
In some sort of inner exploration into to why the endless soaking and leaky basement bothers us, my wife and I were waxing philosophical on the subject just last week, thinking about the hardy Pacific Northwesterners that came before us.
“Maybe they had more to do back then, you know, like surviving. Possibly, because a larger percentage of the population had such physically-taxing jobs they just put their nose to the grindstone and got to work” she said. “They simply didn’t have the time to complain because stuff just had to get done.”
I agreed. It’s almost like they didn’t even have time to think about how the rain was potentially ruining the trip to the park with the kids, the 10-mile run with the group, or the 18 holes after work. They simply had way too much to do and didn’t have time to whine and think about how the rain was ruining their fun.
Talking with my mom about it, I was corrected.
“Oh, no” she exclaimed. “Dad hated the rain. He spent a third of his life in front of the TV watching the weather, and the other two-thirds building roads (for a logging company) and running the farm. His life was spent in the mud – literally – in the mud.”
I glanced up, wincing at my waterproof-jacket clad reflection in the window wielding a smartphone with a weather app open.
“Like your brother” she quipped.
Right, yes. My ridiculously handy, can-build-anything-out-of-anything, larger-forearmed brother. He’s a contractor who does indeed spend most his life in the elements, perfecting his craft in the watery mire of a Pacific Northwest winter.
“Alright” I said. “But at least he doesn’t have to sit in front a TV to get his forecast. And he’s got waterproof gear– ”
And with a patronizing eye-roll, she walked back inside.
She was right. As it turns out, my world-view is a bit shaped by the things I do every day. Go figure. Admittedly, I didn’t think that one out all the way. I guess the rain’s been sucking the fun out of everything for centuries, no matter if your weather forecast was in an almanac, on a black and white TV, in color, or in the palm of your hand.
A loud clunk across the yard instantly reminded why we do this – why we deal with the never-ending grey and 80% chance of rain that almost always feels like 100%.
My brother, with rain gear drying in a nearby shed, was busy rigging poles for a Kokanee fishing trip he was heading out on in the morning. And just behind him, the cows roaming the fields on same farm built by my grandfather decades ago were staring at me over the fence, chewing something, contemplating their existence. We endure because we love it here, because we might have a heritage here, and through some overwhelming sense of optimism, we maintain in the rain the best we can just waiting for that week full of little sunshine icons in our weather app when we can knock out the things we’ve been waiting for all winter.
And the sunny days here in the PNW… probably amongst the nicest in the world, right? I know several people who get through the grey months knowing that our summers are coming, packing in a few months worth of the blissful sunshine-filled days.
I think it’s this anticipation that keeps us going, and there’s just some really amazing stuff in this little corner of the world that keeps us moving all winter long, even when it’s wet and cold.
So, in celebration of the pending sunshine and this great place that we call home, let’s raise a bottle – preferably a bottle of our classic root beer or vanilla cream soda – way up high towards that marine layer and thank it for giving us something to look forward to.
Because without it, a sunny day would be just another sunny day, and getting out and mowing the grass just wouldn’t be that big of a deal.