This week, Seattle has become a caricature of itself, and I a willing participant. I sit at my dining room table, squinting to see what I’m writing in a gloom that would rival Gollum’s cave. It’s 11 am and I refuse to have the lights on at such a time. It’s been pouring rain all day, almost every day for two weeks.
The picnic lawn at Matthews Beach Park is a duck pond (waterfowl and all!) and the creeks have leapt out of their beds; children on Christmas morning. The invasive New Zealand mud snails we’re supposed to religiously avoid in Thornton Creek must be taking up residence in the nearby trees by now.
The Seattle Sunday Times that our lovely delivery boy tossed onto our sopping front yard without a bag has now disintegrated into mush among the blades of grass, the violent mustard comb-over of our new president melting in a salad of a hundred thousand words. I think even the grass will reject it.
Robert Michael Pyle suggested that “we dwellers of the rain world should have a whole lexicon of precipitation.” I tend to agree. In a place like Seattle, where it’s constantly wet but not usually “rainy,” any spate of significant precipitation is classified as “pouring” (see first paragraph). So how do I elevate the description of the weather we’ve been having to its proper drama when “pouring” and “cats and dogs” (a phrase I’ve never liked, anyway) are already used for lesser events?
I could, as Pyle does, attempt to create a few new terms. I’m partial to “schmetter,” myself. Or I could stick with our current vocabulary and make do.
On days such as these, my inner thrill-seeker awakens as I pull on my tall rain boots and head down to the south end of Matthews Beach. Other days I peruse the extended picnic pond – it’s an odd sort of exploration. I know exactly what’s at the bottom, even though I can’t see it through the muddy water. Here and there a fluff of moss floats past my leg, dislodged from the bedraggled lawn beneath. I suppose the parks and recreation department has a specific bit of the annual budget set aside for the grass seed it takes to rejuvenate this picnic area every spring. And another budget for the guy they have to pay to mow it down two months later. What a funny world we live in.