That’s what my new doctor in Seattle says: “Embrace the rain.” After 18 years of (almost) constant sunshine in Los Angeles, my husband and I moved to Seattle, Washington in time for five months of recording-breaking rain.
Most of the time, LA rain disappears in a day. When it rains, we act like we’ll melt. We try to stay indoors and off the roads until the sun returns, birds sing, and life returns to its normal sunny state. Ah, those were the days…
Our first month here was filled with beautiful blue skies and fall colors on the hills. Plenty of sunshine as we began our new life. Gorgeous. Then the rain came and came and came.
At first I acted as if I was still in LA. I waited until the next day to go to the grocery and walk the dogs. And then the next day. And the next day. You get the idea. It was still raining. Finally, I bought an umbrella and got my sorry butt to the grocery.
Surely the sun will return soon, I thought. It can’t rain forever. Wrong. It can rain for more than a week at a time. Of course, I knew this before I moved here, but living the reality is different. Now I know that, during the winter, I could starve if I wait for sunshine before going to the grocery. Plus, staying out of the rain neither gets me exercise nor fends off cabin fever.
I know I used to live in rainy climates, so it shouldn’t have been a big deal, but those places weren’t like this one. It rains so often here that people have learned how to get on with their life in the midst of it. They garden, mow their lawns, and wash their cars in the rain. They bike, jog, hike, and take their children to the playground in the rain. They pause for floods but otherwise keep going with every aspect of life. I’d forgotten how to live like that.
One of my new doctors laughed when I told him I didn’t like walking in the rain. He responded, “I tell all my LA transplants to embrace the rain. The sun is fantastic in the summer and the days are long. In the meantime, buy waterproof shoes, a rain slicker, fleece pants, and a brimmed hat. Walk, hike, jog, ride. Don’t wait for sunny days. Embrace the rain!” Since this guy rides his bike to work in the rain, snow, sleet and sun, it was hard to argue. Before letting his enthusiasm drain away, I drove to the REI Mother Store where I bought new walking shoes and a down vest for under my rain slicker. After driving home in the rain, I took my brimmed hat off the closet shelf and went for a walk in the rain.
I’m still not excited about walking in the rain. Yuck. Maybe I’ll feel differently by next winter. I like sunny days better. I’m practicing my embrace of the rain, however. I spent an half-an-hour at the dog park with my dogs this weekend in the rain. I’ve raked my yard and even washed my car in the rain–once. I run errands, look at potential houses, and explore the area in the rain. I’d be lying, though, if I said I don’t like the sunny days more than the rainy ones.
On the other hand, the rain keeps the air so clean that my lungs are already healing. I finally feel better than I have in over a year. Thank goodness. This is what we hoped for. As I said before we moved, I’ll take lots of rain if it helps me breathe. Plus, the green forests that seem to surround us wherever we go are stunning and the moss on the trees outside my window is stunning in its vivid green.
So, for the past few months I’ve made “Embrace the Rain” my current life motto, not just to get me out of my house, but as a way to respond to the parts of life I don’t like or wish were different. I couldn’t march in the rain but I’m calling my senators and congressman. I can’t fix all my health issues but I’m working away at them. I couldn’t type or telephone for months because of my broken shoulder, but I’m doing my physical therapy and am back at my keyboard.
It takes determination, persistence, and a certain frame of mind to embrace the rain and transform it into a marker of courage and character. Life is too short to wait for sunshine.
Postscript: We not only had rain this winter. We had a great snow storm. This is a picture of me in my new winter parka, embracing the snow, too.
Glad to hear from you! I had been wondering about your new home and Mark’s relocation. I have been in the hospital twice with UTI, The first one nearly killed me. Am recovering from the last one a week ago. Marion came right down as soon as she heard I was sick. She lives in your part of the world and reports that hiacyths and other spring bulbs a poking their heads up. Here t he roses are blooming! In North Dakota, they have had tons of snow and the closest sign of Spring are the thousends of geese returning. May you have a wonderful Spring.
Wonder what the new doctor meant by “embrace the rain.” Embrace adversity? Embrace change? How does embracing act as medicine? Here I missed a whole double rainbow yesterday because I was looking in the opposite direction. Must be a lesson there! Take care whatever the weather!! Prayers for sunshine and long summer nights!
Good to hear from you. Good questions. My doctor’s comment reminds me of advice a seminary mentor gave me: Act your way into being. I’m trying to act my way into going forward, no matter what. And, maybe when we miss one rainbow because we’re looking the wrong direction, the knowledge of its existence can provide hope that others exist for us to see another time.
We are so happy your health is improving! Your snowman is great! God Bless
Thanks. I especially like my Nanook look.
So glad to hear your lungs are beginning to heal, Barbara. 🙂 I’ve been diagnosed with emphysema & COPD, (from radiation treatments 30 yrs ago for a large tumor in my chest), so I, too, need to get out of the LA smog and heat. Got to get some bills paid down and find a good & inexpensive place to move to. One day…
Sorry you broke your shoulder; what happened? 🙁 I broke my left shoulder falling off a horse years ago – ugh.
Embrace the rain sounds like good advice… good luck with that. Words of experience from my Sister-in-law who is a long time Seattle resident: We don’t die here; we just mold from all the rain.
You are always in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for all the help you have given me.
🙂 Elaine Rose
Your sister-in-law’s comment sounds right. It makes me smile. I’m sorry about the new health problems. Dang. Life seems really unfair, sometimes. Your courage has always been an inspiration to me. Hang in there, as you have for so long. You have a special place in my heart.
I so love Seattle and Portland and am glad to are getting a new lease on life! Hope you find a good home and start to garden and grow good things. Peace!
I hadn’t traveled in this part of the country much and am enjoying its exploration. We think we’ve found a house with a good kitchen and lots of gardening space–two of the essentials for us. I’ll let you know it we get it.
Well, all good news. Ask the dogs how they feel about the rain-walks? Very logical thinking, after all you have been acclamated to our drought! We here in LA are trying to avoid the disaster areas☔️.🌂🌨.
You have figured it out with great “embrace” advice. Glad your arms and fingers are working. Take care of all vital parts. Keep writing. I’ll keep reading!
The dogs seem to like the mud puddles the rain creates, especially the younger one who rolls in them instantly if we don’t keep an eye on her. Better she than me!
Barbara & Mark,
It is great to hear your reflections about Seattle and the Northwest.
I grew up in Seattle and went to the UofW. There are some beautiful sunny days, but somewhat rare.
Are you relating to a church there? Have you and Mark accepted a pastoral position yet?
We are really getting rain here in Southern CA which we really need.
Your friends, Bryce & Phyllis Little
I am so thrilled to hear things are better with your lungs! A prayer answered. Hadn’t heard about the shoulder – be careful!! and keep on the mend. As you know we have had lots of gloomy and wet days this winter and I get the blue – where is our spirit lifting sun? – feeling often although am thankful for the much needed water. My Redwood tree is smiling!! We miss you and send love, Karen & — Bill
I fell last July at home and fractured my right shoulder. The fall was caused by an undiagnosed infection that affected my balance. The infection spread to bladder and kidney, landing me in the hospital the week before we moved, then home health for three days, stopping the day before the moving truck was loaded. All of that and more is getting straightened out, thank goodness.
Hi there. Mark has begun an interim position at Redmond Presbyterian Church. Before that, we worshiped with the faithful remnant at Seattle First Presbyterian. Mark is getting to know the U.W. campus a little. He’s enrolled in a non-profit management certification program there.
Great hearing your voice again through your writing. So many metaphors, especially in this turbulent time of our nation. Thank you for thoughts and keep singing!
Is it possible to sing the sound, “aargh!”?
We love and miss you so much. Glad the weather is improving your health. We are learning to embrace the rain, too, but on a smaller, and probably temporary, scale. Give the dogs a hug for us.
Good to hear from you. Our dogs love the snow. They still look at us with unhappiness in their eyes, however, when they have to do their “business” outside in the rain. I tell them they’re dogs, and dogs poop in the rain so get over it.
So glad to hear again, I had been wondering. When I was small I loved walking through puddles in my rain boots
I did, too. I’m trying to recover that joyful approach to rain. Maybe the granddaughters will help.
Bill Cosby used to do a bit about Seattle. Something along the lines of sacrificing a calf when the sun came out to make it go away.
I’m not ready to go that far yet. I’m still pleading for sunshine.
It’s great to hear how things are going in the Great Northwet (stet), and that the weather is helping your health. I look forward to more blogs!
hi Barbara, glad to see you are back on track. We’ve had so much constant rain around here this winter, it’s not too different from Northern California’s soaking climate. As I ponder my move ( May ?) to Sacramento for so many good reasons, I stress out about the real winter weather I’ll have to eventually endure. I’ve never been too good at embracing the rain, so I hear you loud and clear. In my case I just feel I need the change and want to move on in a different direction. Maybe it will be good for me but the unknown overshadows my thoughts on a regular basis these days. So I’ve decided to wait until the Spring, so I can think clearly and get a running start for the next winter… talk to you again soon.
The change isn’t easy, that’s for sure. I remind myself that change happens wherever we are, even if we physically stay in one place. So, it’s a matter of whether we make conscious changes and, if so, which ones and how big are they. This one was certainly worthwhile. I’m also grateful we had a month of sunshine before the rain began. Keep me posted.
When I returned toOregon In 2005 I found the local library full of “rain ” books; picture books for toddlers in tall boots, stormy stories for early readers, even science books explaining how to make rain and , my favorite, formulas that help you find rainbows! Really!!
Soon you will glance out your kitchen window and exclaim,”There must be a rainbow out there ! “. 🌈👓☂️😙☺️
I’ve tried to keep “There must be a rainbow out there” in the back of my mind this week. What a great perspective! The day after I read your comment, I parked in front of a house we hope to buy. The rain stopped and a rainbow appeared that seemed, in my camera, to end at the driveway. Hmmm.
Great to have back you on the blogosphere. Gene Kelly singing and dancing in the rain–my all time favorite movie clip. Perfect my dear.
Good to hear from you Barbara – I was just wondering how you were getting along. I am glad you feel better in your new surroundings –
Kathy, As I enjoy my granddaughters, I remember how happy you have been to have yours near-by. Hooray for in-town grandchildren.
We are learning to do the same thing down here. I have yet to buy a fleece vest, however! Great to see you back on the Blog beat.
I’m also trying to teach myself to grab windows of good weather before they close again. For example, I wanted to take the dogs out yesterday and postponed it so long that I missed the sweet spot between snow/rain and sunshine. Today I will force myself to take them out in the rain. It’s hard to walk the talk.