Here in the Pacific Northwest, our weather is among the least predictable in the world. Forrest Gump could have called upon our weather instead of his famous ‘box of chocolates’.
Yes, we’re famous for our rain; even though we don’t get a lot by some standards, we have years when we can claim the most cloudy and sunless days in a single season. Because of our weather, we have what must be at least twenty words for the precipitative condition known elsewhere as “rain”. I’ll never be able to name them all in one sitting. Or even ten. But let’s give it a try:
Working from lightest to heaviest, the general categories are mist, drizzle, showers, rain, storming, and the Hollywood Rainstorm. Notice that although some older folks may use the term ‘sprinkling’, we NEVER, EVER use the term, “sprinkles”. You’ll hear a True Northwesterner angrily shout back at the TV or the radio: “Sprinkles are for donuts, idiot…!” Or for weather forecasters from a different part of the country.
There’s a reason that a certain overly-expensive coffee company got started in our part of the world. It can get so gloomy after a few weeks of straight cloudy days and rain that coffee is absolutely necessary to get stuff done. During those times we use expressions such as ‘still-raining’, ‘another-day-of-rain’; all uttered either at the beginning or at the end of a very long sigh.
So let me pick up my cup of average Joe (made from inexpensive but good coffee with a pinch of salt) and let’s get some inspiration going – in spite of the weather. One quick warning: if you’ve not lived nor visited the Northwest, make sure your coffee is plenty hot and strong. You’ll need it…
“I stood inside and watched the dreariness fall from a dead-gray sky. In front of me, the lawn furniture slowly and relentlessly grew highlights of green moss; and I knew I could do nothing about it until spring; by then it would have advanced to the point where it would cost me most of a good Saturday to clean it.”
“Finding a sliver of iron within my rubbery will, I forced myself out of the warm bed and into the general direction of the waiting day. Glancing out the blinds, I could see that it was yet another of a long string of cold, gray days. Such days run uncaring of the affairs of man from winter into spring, hiding any transition from the one season to the other and artlessly quenching any hope of sunshine and warmth.”
“I slouched my way along the street, finding myself looking for hope – any hope. The rain slacked off suddenly, then quit altogether. The air had been washed clean of pollen and pollutants, and was suddenly sweet and clean to breathe. The clouds overhead continued to roll and blow with the winds, but suddenly, rifts began to appear.
Rays of sunshine, bursting forth upon the earth in my vicinity!
After all the gray, oppressive days of rain, the sunshine was the Hand of God parting the waters from the land!
I felt my leaden heart lift within me: warm blood began to reach my cold extremities; the cold, damp, listless air I had been breathing suddenly seemed full of life and warmth; my eyes brightened as my back straightened from its invisible burden. Suddenly I was alive again.”
“I walked outside into the evening, my hand automatically zipping up my jacket as I went. Day was already fleeing the cruel rain, allowing Night to hurry in; and no wonder: The temperature hovered coldly at the conversion-point between damp-and-dry; dragging the dew point reluctantly into collaboration of murder. Cold and damp, the twin forces of hypothermia, immediately stole any warmth from my hands and face, greedily seeking to steal my body’s scant and fast-fading warmth. I wondered briefly about people killed at sea, and if this is how they felt before the cold fingers of death came to take them. I hadn’t gone more than thirty steps before I picked up my pace a bit, looking toward the moment when I could get back inside and out of this wet misery.”