I live in Oregon, the Pacific Northwest. I’ve lived here all my life except for a couple years around college and the military. There’s no place like home.
You might have heard that it always rains in Oregon. That’s a myth we like to perpetuate. Yes, it does rain, but not like in other parts of the country.
We usually get 30 or 40 inches in a year, here in Portland. (The coastal regions can get 100 or more. Now, that’s some rain!) Most of this rain happens between Halloween and the 4th of July. Our “rain year” begins Nov 1. Rain usually falls a quarter inch or so at a time, sometimes up to an inch, rarely more.
See? Not much.
But, it’s usually this small amount for days at a time.
This December, we had 25 straight days of measurable rain. Over 15 inches of rain fell during that time, half our normal annual rainfall. There was flooding. Trees fell over due to the water-soaked ground. More auto accidents because of slick roads. Normally damp ditches became raging creeks.
And we had a decrease in crime for a few days. (What criminal wants to sneak around in the rain?)
Our back yard cycled through being a pond, a river, and a muddy wetland. The dogs running around out there tore great swaths of lawn out and in its place left a muddy track that finds its way into the house on their paws.
The roof sprung a leak, actually a re-leak as it turns out, that needed to be patched in the middle of some of the worst rain, at night. I just love me some ladder climbing onto a moss-slick roof trying to track down the source of the leak so I can use the “works in water” patch material that doesn’t — work in water nor patch.
Those are the inevitable downsides of such a pattern of water from the skies.
Can there be any good?
Oh, yes there can.
Now think about a place where it rains off and on for 8 months. What does all that water do?
First, it feeds vegetation. Washington is called “The Evergreen State”. We have trees growing out of fallen trees. We have trees that stretch for hundreds of square miles, and some that stand 150 feet or more. There is moss on all sides of the trees. (So much for trying to find your way by finding moss on the north side of a tree.) The underbrush has underbrush.
And it’s green.
I used to fly all over the US and Canada, commuting to various clients and projects. From the air, the countryside is a beautiful place. However, in the winter looking down on Chicago or New York, the vast expanse of gray and brown can be discouraging. Coming home to PDX, the miles and miles of green is so comforting. There is life down there.
That water has to go somewhere, and it does. We don’t have 10,000 lakes, but we do have more than our share of creeks and rivers and ponds and lakes. Oregon is called “The Beaver State” because we had Beavers all over the place. Beavers need water. Our college teams are the Oregon DUCKS and the OSU Beavers. Water, water everywhere.
These streams and lakes host some of the most magnificent fisheries to be found anywhere. Chinook or King Salmon up to 70 0r 80 pounds find their way up the rivers to spawn. Steelhead, or ocean-going Rainbow Trout, have their own runs up the rivers, feeding its own breed of fishermen donned in rain suits and insulated underwear. A specially designed drift boat carries them up and down the rivers in the freshets and gloom. Trout of all varieties are found in the mountain and lowland streams and lakes. Bass and Crappie, Sturgeon and Shad, Perch and Bluegills, all inhabit the fisherman’s delight.
Oh, we have a wonderland because of the rain. Sport, recreation, and daily chores all get done while it rains. We have little choice. We just dress appropriately.
But, we also spend plenty of time inside. The dark of winter is more so because of the seemingly perpetual gray skies. Even dressed right doesn’t make being outside so comfortable that we stay outside. So, we go shopping.
Local retailers know, but the back-east management can’t comprehend, that when it rains, we go shopping. When the sun shines, which it does now and then, we go outside and recreate. No stinkin’ shopping for us on sunny days. We can shop on any of the rainy days, but the SUN!
I like rainy days. I’ve grown up with them as part of life. I have moss on my back and webs between my toes. The days might be dreary to some, but not to me. It is home.
And I like rainy days because I can sit in my chair, sip my craft-roasted coffee, and think. I can write without needing to get the lawn mowed. I can do business. I can look outside and know that I’m living in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
You should come visit sometime.