Northwest weather is hard to beat

By Joanne Peterson | Aug 01, 2013

This summer I seem to write frequently about the weather. My writing sisters Kizzie and Edythe currently are staying at a favorite resort on the Oregon coast, and were treated their first two days to a delightful combination of high temperatures and minus tides.

The third day, the cool morning did not turn into a warm afternoon; a photo they sent featured knit caps, cozy jackets. I reminded Kizzie that fine weather is a joy but has nothing to do with the pleasure one finds in a destination or an experience. If we in the Pacific Northwest allowed weather to dictate our pleasures, would we not have an inordinate number of disappointments during our rainy season(s)?

In the meantime, back home in Edmonds – during a stretch of perfect July days – I am happily following my summer plan to spend time every day on my deck. Granted, there have been a few days I’ve missed this summer – and there’ve been a few days I’ve worn a flannel shirt and enjoyed warming my hands around a steaming mug of coffee or tea as I relaxed among my flowers, watching the ferries in the distance.

This morning, I awakened to the sound of the fog horn, a sound that invariably transports me to my childhood in Edmonds, including teen-aged years living on Olympic View Drive where the sound of the fog horn drifted to my bedroom window, summoning me to wakefulness and to gray mornings waiting for the school bus.  But I don’t recall often hearing that sound in summertime, and to hear it this morning was a treat.

Several of my friends suffer from SAD—Seasonal Affective Disorder—which causes them to feel depressed during our damp dark winters. Some of them spend time sitting close to a special lamp designed to provide a substitute light mimicking sunshine and intended to brighten their mood. I don’t think I suffer from that disorder, though sometimes I feel a bit gloomy after what seems like an uncommon number of wet, dim, wintry days.

I spent forty-some adult years east of the mountains, where summers are as hot and dry as winters are cold and snowy. I also spent several years wintering in Arizona, so I have been accustomed to hot weather. My mother, as she grew older, became increasingly sensitive to heat.

Increasingly, I, too, have become uncomfortable in high temperatures. Living in North Central Washington, one summer I picked cherries in near-100 degree heat. And every summer, I canned cherries, peaches, ‘cots and pears in my sweltering kitchen, steam billowing from my big blue canner.  I feel faint, remembering! (I was proud of those accomplishments, though, and enjoyed them.)

I chose to live (again) in the more temperate Pacific Northwest, where we don’t count on sunshine every summer day, and the hottest days rarely top 80 degrees. Our latest stretch of warm July weather? Welcome and wonderful.

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