In the mid-90’s Tom Robbins wrote “You Moist Remember This,” a little essay that waxes poetic about all things Pacific Northwest. He says:
“I’m here for the rust and the mildew, for webbed feet and twin peaks, spotted owls and obscene clams (my consort says I suffer from geoduck envy), blackberries and public art (including that big bad mural the authorities had to chase out of Olympia), for the ritual of the potlatch and the espresso cart…”
I’m with you Tom. I’m here for the grilled salmon, the high alpine lakes, the unofficial dog parks, the bike lanes that infuriate drivers who believe that roads are for cars… I’m here because I went to grad school here, and this was the first place I’d lived that seemed indifferent to whether I stayed–people far smarter and more talented than me arrive every day–so I stayed out of spite, so it would learn that it couldn’t live without me.
“I’m here for the forests (what’s left of them), for the world’s best bookstores and movie theaters; for the informality, anonymity, general lack of hidebound tradition and the fact that here and nowhere else grunge rubs shoulders in the half-mean streets with a pervasive yet subtle mysticism.”
I’m here for the dungeness crab, which I fish from an ancient aluminum canoe on the bay just a mile from my house; I’m here for the microbrews and the stitch ‘n bitch meet-ups, and the explosion of spring, which lasts most of the summer. I’m here for food co-ops and farmer’s markets and dreadlocked college kids walking a slack line strapped between two trees in the public park.
“But mostly, finally, ultimately, I’m here for the weather.”
Ok, stop right there, Tom. I’M NOT HERE FOR THAT.
Inspired by this view out my living room window, I just wrote a 250 word rant about rain. But then I realized that blogging about the weather is about as awesome as a business lunch with a total stranger (unless you’re Cliff Mass, who somehow blogs about the weather and is still awesome), so I deleted it. You’re welcome. I’ll summarize it like this: we have long wet springs in Bellingham. LONG. Josh and I got married on July 1, our first summer here, and when we invited our new Bellingham friends to the outdoor wedding, they all said, “Oh dear.”
Learning to deal with the soggy darkness requires a spiritual practice. Josh meditates almost daily, and he manages to be a pretty content person, so there’s a testament to meditation…I, however, have trouble making a space in my life for so much stillness and quiet. Most days, knitting in front of a Downton Abbey episode is about all I manage, and even then, I’m still doing two things at once.
So it’s no wonder that the rain is a mental slog, especially when we have 21 consecutive days of it, as we did last March. Knowing how much I miss the Midwest spring–which includes reasonably warm days starting in April, and dramatic spring thunderstorms–my mom bought me this little painting on burlap called “Balance the Rain,” by Bethany Hadden. It’s mounted right next to my front door, where I’m forced to visually trip over it every time I head out into the weather, or hang up a sopping wet raincoat on the wardrobe door.
I can’t say that it’s turned my rainy world around, or that I have suddenly found a deep-seated contentment with the drizzle, but it does make me stop and take a breath–a deliberate breath–which sometimes is all the meditation I need.