Waterlogged in Washington

path through the wetlandsI’m soaked. The dog is soaked. The cat goes out for a moment, and comes in soaked, and with an indignant meow, he looks at me accusingly as if to say…. what’s with that door?  Where’s the dry land?

This is Washington State, where (I am told) it rarely rains. Really.  It does not rain.  It pours, it showers, it drizzles, it mists….. but rarely does it rain.  Which begs the question… what exactly is rain?  To that, I have no answer.  All I know is that its wet.  Soggy.  Dreary and damp.

My hands are chronically cold.  They might be permanently numb if it weren’t for those microwavable heat packs that I can wrap around them once in a while.  And it’s not that the temperatures are all that low… it’s just that this constant damp is so bone chilling deep.  I’ve been warmer in single digit temperatures, with snow on the ground.

The other thing about a gray climate: I am never quite sure when morning arrives.  Shouldn’t the  morning sun be a cue to get dressed and begin the day? But here, there is not a clear sunrise. Instead, the sky shifts gradually from pre-dawn rainy black to subtly lighter shades of gray.  Suddenly, you look at the clock and realize its noon, and you haven’t had your morning shower and breakfast because you are still waiting for the sun to come up.

Alright, so maybe I exaggerate a little, but really, this constant rainy gray is tough to get used to.  We are doing what we can to invite the sun –  We placed hanging crystals in all the windows to add a bit of color, and bunches of daffodil buds placed inside the house are opening to a brilliant yellow.   I find myself wanting to wear bright colors, and to throw bright-colored blankets over anything gray or brown. 

It’s not all drab and dreary, however.  Nearby is the watershed area, and mossy treethere are beautiful trails that dip down into the earth and wander through fluorescent green moss and ferns. The trees embrace the wet moss and reach high up into the sky, and  the birds are abundant here. At night:  a beautiful chorus of frogs and crickets.  Yesterday, while out walking, I heard the sweet sound of red-winged blackbirds, and my spirit soared with their song.

An encounter on the rainy trail this morning:  An old man in a red plaid shirt, blue jeans, and brown muddy rain boots, carrying an old ragged umbrella greeted me with a bright good morning.  “I’m wondering when the rain might stop!” he said cheerfully.  “But then, when you’ve lived here as long as I have, you never mind it and you just live your life anyway!”

That seems like sage advice.  To just be in the moment, to appreciate what is, to live my life anyway – this is wisdom.  Regardless of what is happening on the outside, this moment IS my life.   Whining is useless.  It is much more practical, not to mention pleasant to seek the beauty, to live the love, to be with what is.  When I notice that the rain brings amazing gifts I am thankful,  and the doldrums fall away pretty quickly.

And in all fairness, there have been a few sun breaks in the past week or so (my sister tells me that this is the only area where tholympics from capital baye weather casters actually use ‘sun breaks’ as a technical term). When the sky is blue and the air clear, we can see across the bay to the Olympic Mountain ranges.  Really, the area is so incredibly beautiful.

My father, who lived here most of his life, always said that there is no place more beautiful than Washington State.  After long trips, he relished being home where the land is green and fertile, and the salty smell of the Pacific Ocean drifts through open windows and nestles around damp corners.  I think of him often here: I feel his spirit, and invoke his love of the area to keep me sane in all of this gray.

I do know that spring will arrive here eventually (it is only March, after all) and that one day soon the rain will stop, the sun will shine, and there will be the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest to appreciate.

For now, we take it all day-to-day:  living, loving, laughing where we can.

Life Simply Is.
May you appreciate your moments in all that you do.
~Namaste~
roots

Rain in Summer – A Poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

How beautiful is the rain!
After the dust and heat,
In the broad and fiery street,
In the narrow lane,
How beautiful is the rain! 

How it clatters along the roofs,
Like the tramp of hoofs
How it gushes and struggles out
From the throat of the overflowing spout!

Across the window-pane
It pours and pours;
And swift and wide,
With a muddy tide,
Like a river down the gutter roars
The rain, the welcome rain!

The sick man from his chamber looks
At the twisted brooks;
He can feel the cool
Breath of each little pool;
His fevered brain
Grows calm again,
And he breathes a blessing on the rain.

From the neighboring school
Come the boys,
With more than their wonted noise
And commotion;
And down the wet streets
Sail their mimic fleets,
Till the treacherous pool
Ingulfs them in its whirling
And turbulent ocean.

In the country, on every side,
Where far and wide,
Like a leopard’s tawny and spotted hide,
Stretches the plain,
To the dry grass and the drier grain
How welcome is the rain!

In the furrowed land
The toilsome and patient oxen stand;
Lifting the yoke encumbered head,
With their dilated nostrils spread,
They silently inhale
The clover-scented gale,
And the vapors that arise
From the well-watered and smoking soil.
For this rest in the furrow after toil
Their large and lustrous eyes
Seem to thank the Lord,
More than man’s spoken word.

Near at hand,
From under the sheltering trees,
The farmer sees
His pastures, and his fields of grain,
As they bend their tops
To the numberless beating drops
Of the incessant rain.
He counts it as no sin
That he sees therein
Only his own thrift and gain.

These, and far more than these,
The Poet sees!
He can behold
Aquarius old
Walking the fenceless fields of air;
And from each ample fold
Of the clouds about him rolled
Scattering everywhere
The showery rain,
As the farmer scatters his grain.

He can behold
Things manifold
That have not yet been wholly told,–
Have not been wholly sung nor said.
For his thought, that never stops,
Follows the water-drops
Down to the graves of the dead,
Down through chasms and gulfs profound,
To the dreary fountain-head
Of lakes and rivers under ground;
And sees them, when the rain is done,
On the bridge of colors seven
Climbing up once more to heaven,
Opposite the setting sun.

Thus the Seer,
With vision clear,
Sees forms appear and disappear,
In the perpetual round of strange,
Mysterious change
From birth to death, from death to birth,
From earth to heaven, from heaven to earth;
Till glimpses more sublime
Of things, unseen before,
Unto his wondering eyes reveal
The Universe, as an immeasurable wheel
Turning forevermore
In the rapid and rushing river of Time.

Travelogue in Brief

11 Days, 7 hours, a handful of minutes
4,114 miles (6620.841 km)   –  give or take a side trip or two
Mostly southern route from coast to coast, corner to corner – see map

It took a day to get through Florida  (very long state) – then on through Alabama (best rest stops) – Louisiana (detour through New Orléans: big city, lots of traffic) – Texas (choose your speed) – Oklahoma (was there something significant here?) – Texas (again!) – New Mexico (oh, the sky!) – Arizona (vast and open, painted desert, whoops…. snow!) – California (Mohave Desert – too vast to photograph) – California (Barstow to Lodi: ugh, yuck, and worst restrooms ever) – California (wine country, much better vibes, Sonoma gave us the Best Breakfast of the trip) – California Coast (Pacific Ocean, beach front motel) – Oregon Coast (beautiful, rugged, nothing like it) – then inland over to the Oregon I5 corridor to (finally) Washington State where it snowed ONLY in Olympia, our destination.

You can see a few photos from the trip here.  If you have never driven across our beautiful country, do it.  Everyone needs to take the drive at least once,  and several times if you want to do the southern, middle, and northern routes.  What a beautiful country we live in! It is good to escape the cities and see the vastness of natural beauty:  deserts and rain forests, snowstorms and white sandy beaches,  mountains and valleys,  rain and dry, cracked old mudflats….  how can you not be amazed at the beauty in this world?!  People from all walks of life ~ all connected in this country, by this earth.  Diverse and immense, this is our land.

I wonder: If more people took the time to step out of daily dramas and explored this land, would we learn to honor and take better care of our earth?

Published in: on March 5, 2011 at 12:40  Comments (6)  
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