The Seattle rainy season typically extends through the fourth of July. What most people name Independence Day we call the first day of summer. However, by this past July, a raindrop hadn’t landed on my yard in over a month and daytime temperatures remained around eighty. Summer to most, but an outright heatwave for Pacific Northwesterners. The Emerald City had already shriveled brown and gone dormant along with my garden, spare some salvaged tomato plants, the I-can’t-kill-it rhubarb, and lethargic raspberries. Summer 2015: the hottest Seattle summer on record.
Then touchdown, Chicago. I traveled to my birthplace to visit family and friends and really, to pork out on some amazing Chi-town grub. The plane windows streaked with droplets. I thought, “Ah, how refreshing. It’s raining here. They have all our rain.”
The excitable lady sitting behind me with two-tone hair and heavy eye makeup had read the National Enquirer aloud to her disinterested husband for much of the flight. She looks out the window and says, in that nasal Chicago accent that I, too, possess, “Oh my Gahhhhd, it’s so craaaappy here!”
I think, “Oh my Gahhhhd, this rain is awwwwesome, and I wish it would head toward Seattle.”
I want to chime in with, “There’s no crappy weather, only crappy gear.” I could also say, “The sun is always shining above the clouds,” as I think when I set my eyes on the grey layer typically hovering over Seattle. I keep quiet and wait for the crying babies to start up in choral harmony. They drown out the whining adults. Thank you, babies.
Which brings me to the Seattle Weather Reporter. It is now October, officially fall in Seattle, and the end of a record dry summer. I’m ready for rain. What say you, Weather Reporter?
When I first moved to Seattle from the Midwest, my dad warned, “You’ll need two rain jackets, because one will always be wet.” Fact. It rains here often from fall through spring. But Mr. and Mrs. Weather Reporter, dagnabbit, why ya gotta be so whiny like two-toned, frosted hair lady on the plane in Chicago? Why do you whirl your arms across the screen conjuring messages into the universe that average rain is “baaad?” Why do you and your Doppler radar drive us out of Vitamin Daytime into our artificially lit homes? We cannot get our daily dose by sitting inside with our faces pressed up against a window.
Weather reporter, turn that frown of an umbrella upside down into a full birdbath that runneth over.
Let’s break it down. It’s. Just. Water.
Plants, animals, the urine-streaked-brick alleys of downtown’s Pioneer Square, and all those law-abiding pedestrians at the cross-walks waiting for the light to change, all need a good soak. Seattle is the Emerald City, but without mucha agua falling from the sky, we’d be void of green ferns, towering conifers, and salmon swimming through backyards.
Weather Reporter, it’s not that you report what we can already see out our windows, it’s you’re so judgey about it. Eeyore, please stop the “We’re doomed” bit. Make some joyful noise. I double dog dare you to try a new twist like, “Hey, Seattle! Put away the sunglasses and your electronics, and make some eye contact with each other. It’s going to rain all day, every day for the next week, and likely the next few months, so get out and enjoy this life-giving Northwest weather.”
Someday, people will migrate here because of our rain, a precious natural resource. Even in the Amazon that receives about 7.5-feet of rain annually, over twice Seattle’s average, the villagers I visited greeted the rain with open arms and maybe a paper tent over their heads. Then they used those open arms to bail out a foot of water from our dugout canoe so we could get back to piranha fishing. Now, if people with immense rain, real rain, can put on a happy face, I think we should, too.
While spending weeks in southern Nigeria we prayed for rain to fill rooftop water tanks so we had clean water with which to cook, bathe and wash our dishes and clothes.
The school kids carried various jugs on their heads to fill at a community well so their families had water to drink. It’s a heavy burden to have no rain. Still, they smiled.
Weather reporters, let’s change our atmospheric ‘tudes. Yes, continue to warn us of high risk weather like floods, high winds, and “winter blasts.” But, let’s not be so quick to label a stretch of rainy days, “baaad.” Let’s keep a bigger world’s perspective. Fresh, clean, free water falling from the sky is an immense blessing. Let’s hear you cough up the Cumulus Congestus built up in your chest and say it, “Rain is good! Gear up, get out, and an enjoy it.”
Love this day.