As I write this, the first major storm of the season is upon us – fallen tree limbs, flooded sidewalks, puffy parkas and upended garbage cans abound.
Last night, a hungry pack of raccoons feasted on the glut of overturned cans in my own neighborhood. Thus began my Monday morning: me, squatting on my haunches in the buffeting rain and whipping wind, picking egg shells and soggy paper towel bits out of the muddy side yard. Not the most auspicious beginning to a new week, or to a new season, for that matter, but as the old maxim goes, the key to happiness is a long life and a short memory.
Doubly true when you’re living in a place where the average August and December high temperatures are a mere 20 degrees apart (68.3 and 48.4, in case you were curious) – when you get lucky.
Summer 2010 brought with it luck of no such kind for North Coast residents. The less-than-memorable weather (white and cold are two of the printable adjectives that come to mind) was predictably followed by a chilly fall, winter and spring. That’s a whole lot of cold, for a whole lot of months in a row.
Hope springs eternal, goes another well-loved maxim. Yes, I suppose it sometimes does, but if that particular spring happens to run dry, self-preservation can also be sufficiently achieved through a little spirited whining. Complaints seem to function as a crucial pressure valve for saturated locals in these parts. When June 2011 dawned cold and cloudy, the gaskets blew open. I heard countless seasoned locals mutter vague threats to relocate if the weather gods didn’t cut it out, and soon. I gazed into the foggy, raindrop-covered spectacles of friends and neighbors, and saw in their eyes a look of weary rage.
July arrived, slightly warmer but by no means actually “warm.” The complaints grew louder in volume and more frequent in occurrence. Then came the gift of August, – a hot, stunningly clear month with a mere whisper of rain. You could almost hear the Hallelujah Choruses ringing out when Cannon Beach was gifted with even more fantastic weather during the month of September. Well, most of September. OK, more like half of September. But no matter. It was enough.
We are, indeed, a forgiving bunch. Kick us a few warm days, and all is forgotten. At the start of rainy season, the threats of desertion have abated, and the year’s first big storm is stirring up instead a universal feeling of nostalgia, at least for me.
Mere minutes after this morning’s eggshell and paper towel incident, I found myself embarking on my two-minute commute to work, bundled up in a beanie, boots and fingerless gloves. If you’d told me a month ago that I’d be so accoutred the first week of fall, I wouldn’t have taken the news well. But this rainy morn, I thought only of hot drinks from Bella Espresso (they give a mean “locals only” coffee discount), a cozy morning spent listening to the rain pound on my (thankfully watertight) skylight, and whether it was too soon to cue up my Christmas music playlist.
For the sake of my coworker, I’m waiting on the holiday tunes for another month. And I’m still holding out hope that we’ll get a few more sunny weeks before the morass sets in again. But I have a faint suntan for the first time in years and one-point-five months worth of sun-dappled memories to get me through. Around here, that counts for quite a lot.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK