For a native Mainer, the weather and seasons of the Pacific Northwest are a bit of an enigma to me still. I think it's a safe assumption that most people consider the region simply 'wet', and that's true to a certain extent. This past May and June, I heard from no fewer than three long-time Washingtonians that "summer won't come until July 4th." Sure enough, on Independence Day, the eight-month fog lifted, revealing the nearly forgotten sun. It was in the 70's that day and I think it has rained three or four times from then through the middle of this month.
As quickly as summer came, so left the memory of the wet and grey fall, winter and spring - which to me, all felt like the same thing despite the particular month it may have been. It feels almost wrong to wish for "bad" weather when it's sunny and a perfect temperature outside, but at some point in late September or earlier this month, the facts that we had not seen rain for a damn long time and that we needed it pretty badly came over me. Rivers were incredibly low. Land was burning!
Last week the air changed. It was colder outside than it had been for the last three month. I saw my breath in the evening. I even wore a jacket to work once. "Here it comes," we said to each other. And then there it was: rain in the forecast.
It sprinkled on Thursday night and was overcast on Friday. Saturday afternoon would find me in a car headed west, to the coast. We drove right into it: rain. In a cabin hardly a hundred yards from the mighty Pacific, six friends and I intoxicated ourselves while it rained as hard as you can imagine. Sometime after midnight, the rain let up briefly, allowing us to take to the beach and observe the scene. It was true, the rain and the weather had come. The ocean frothed at our feet while we raced up and down the beach screaming "Washington!!!" We let out war cries for the rain and the weather. Clearly, it wasn't only the rivers and the land that had missed the rain. The summer zit that had been stewing and growing for three and a half months was finally popped last night and we let the wet, winter puss run all over our smiling faces.
When we awoke it was raining hard, almost at a laughable rate. I eagerly awaited my first look at the coastal rivers of the Olympic Peninsula, nearly sure of what I was going to see, yet unwilling to believe it until I saw it with my own two eyes. It was as I hoped: a surging river of chocolate milk! It was true and there was no denying it. The rain had come, bringing with it what will be the weather we'll have for a long time. Just like that break in the clouds on July 4th, the season had changed overnight.
With the rain, the fish will come. The magical fish of winter; the mighty steelhead. They're coming soon and they'll be in the rivers, pissed off and ready to fuck. Will you be there too?