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 11am 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, and the creeks have leapt out of their beds like children on Christmas morning. The invasive New Zealand mud snails we’re supposed to so 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 has now disintegrated into mush among the blades of grass, the violent mustard combover of our new president melting in a salad of ten 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,” rather like the Inuit have for snow. 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.” So how do I elevate the description of the weather we’ve been having to its proper drama when “pouring” and “cats & dogs” (a phrase I’ve never liked, anyway) are already used for much lesser events?
I could, as RMP does, attempt to create a few new colloquial terms — I’m partial to “whispering,” myself — or I could stick with our current accepted vocabulary and make do.
On days such as these, my inner thrill-seeker awakens as I pull on my tall rain boots (rather than my usuals) and head down to the south end of Matthews Beach, where my “secret” trails are.
Other days I peruse the extended pond that annually occupies the wooded picnic area of the park. 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 & 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 come June they have to get some guy to mow it down. What a funny world we live in.