Wednesday, June 30, 2010

While the Sun Shines

Here in the Pacific Northwest we await summer with expectations high, glorified memories of sunny days past bursting through the rain clouds that fill our vision. There's nothing quite like waking to the sound of rain drops pelting against your windowpane in June. After eight months of saying, "Oh, summer in Seattle, it makes the winter drizzle worth it!", the sense that the weather has let you down out of pure spite is hard to shake.

So we are cautious now. We recall the saying that summer in western Washington doesn't start until after - that's right, after - the Fourth of July, and hold on to the hope that the last decade of shorts and flip flops, sunglasses and sunscreen while munching burgers and potato salad on the lawn in dutiful celebration of our nation's birth wasn't just a fluke. It was easy, in those years, to forget the times we suffered, bundled in sweatshirts and positioning buffet tables under cover, knowing that a "chance of showers" has less to do with chance and more to do with showers.

When a sunny day dawns, spirits soar. It's like nothing so much as falling in love. I love you, Seattle! There's the sensation that my heart is actually swelling as I pass beneath the big leaf maples that line my favorite stretch of road in our neighborhood. The overlapping leaves above my head form a mosaic of dappled green, illuminated by the glorious sunlight. Lake Washington shimmers below, a sapphire blue reflection of the sky.

But tomorrow? Well, who would dare to predict it? Make hay while the sun shines, as they say (not mentioning, of course, that a sudden storm can turn the freshly mown hay to rot before it ever gets to the barn). We wait and hope, but hesitate to speak aloud, fearful that the sunny spell be broken.