I’M HERE FOR THE weather.
Well, yes, I’m also here for the volcanoes and the salmon, and the exciting possibility that at any moment the volcanoes could erupt and pre-poach the salmon. I’m here for the rust and the mildew, for webbed feet and twin peaks, spotted owls and obscene clams (my consort says I suffer from geoduck envy), blackberries and public art (including that big bad mural the authorities had to chase out of Olympia), for the ritual of the potlatch and the espresso cart, for bridges that pratfall into the drink and ferries that keep ramming the dock.
Yesterday was awesome.
1. got up late and it was SUNNY when I woke up.
2. 16 ounce latte and split a three girls’ bakery CHOCOLATE DROP with eric (this cookie is cookie PERFECTION. for fat butts.)
3. snuck into jacuzzi on the 35th floor of the hyatt (view of all seattle’s water bodies)
4. martini at the fancy hotel grill
5. bought 2 lbs of crab, fresh lemons, fresh honey dew melon, loaf of my favorite bread (“rustic sour dough”) at the three girls’ bakery, prosciutto, ricotta cheese, and a garlic bulb.
6. went to beach. bottle of wine. face.
7. crab feast + melon dessert whipped up in 20 minutes, and i have never in my entire existence seen a straight boy set the table and then macgyver a candle holder and then light a candle for table ambience without being asked. or trained to do so (or, i should add, without ulterior motives). nEVER. not once. this is the apocalypse.
8. watched pulp fiction in my bed with my bed’s view of seattle
this list contains multiple favorite things per numeral.
But mostly, finally, ultimately, I’m here for the weather.
In the deepest, darkest heart of winter, when the sky resembles bad banana baby food for months on end, and the witch measles that meteorologists call “drizzle” are a chronic gray rash on the skin of the land, folks all around me sink into a dismal funk. Many are depressed, a few actually suicidal. But I grow happier with each fresh storm, each thickening of the crinkly stratocumulus. “What’s so hot about the sun?” I ask. Sunbeams are a lot like tourists: intruding where they don’t belong, promoting noise and forced activity, faking a shallow cheerfulness, dumb little cameras slung around their necks. Raindrops, on the other hand – introverted, feral, buddhistically cool – behave as if they live here. Which, of course, they do.
Romantic? Absolutely. And nothing to be ashamed of. If reality is a matter of perspective, then the romantic view of the world is as valid as any other -and a great deal more rewarding. It makes of life an unpredictable adventure rather than a problematic equation. Rain is the natural element for romanticism. A dripping fir is a thousand times more sexy than a sunburnt palm, and more primal and contemplative, too. A steady, wind-driven rain composes music for the psyche. It not only nurtures and renews, it consecrates and sanctifies. It whispers in secret languages about the primordial essence of things.
Obviously, then, the Pacific Northwest’s customary climate is perfect for a writer. It’s cozy and intimate. Reducing temptation (how can you possibly play on the beach or work in the yard?), it turns a person inward, connecting them with what Jung called “the bottom below the bottom,” those areas of the deep unconscious into which every serious writer must spelunk. Directly above my writing desk there is a skylight. This is the window, rain-drummed and bough-brushed, through which my Muse arrives, bringing with her the rhythms and cadences of cloud and water, not to mention the twenty-three auxiliary verbs.
And it will rain a fever. And it will rain a sacrifice. And it will rain sorceries and saturnine eyes of the totem.
Rain will primitivize the cities, slowing every wheel, animating every gutter, diffusing commercial neon into smeary blooms of esoteric calligraphy. Rain will dramatize the countryside, sewing pearls into every web, winding silk around every stump, re-drawing the horizon line with a badly frayed brush dipped in tea.
And it will rain an omen. And it will rain a trance. And it will rain a seizure. And it will rain dangers and pale eggs of the beast.
Rain will pour for days unceasing. Flooding will occur. Wells will fill with drowned ants, basements with fossils. Mossy-haired lunatics will roam the dripping peninsulas. Moisture will gleam on the beak of the Raven. Ancient shamans, rained from their rest in dead tree trunks, will clack their clamshell teeth in the submerged doorways of video parlors. Rivers will swell, sloughs will ferment. Vapors will billow from the troll-infested ditches, challenging windshield wipers, disguising telephone booths. Water will stream off eaves and umbrellas. It will take on the colors of the beer signs and headlamps. It will glisten on the claws of nighttime animals.
And it will rain a screaming. And it will rain a rawness. And it will rain a disorder, and hair-raising hisses from the oldest snake in the world. Rain will hiss on the freeways. It will hiss around the prows of fishing boats. It will hiss in electrical substations, on the tips of lit cigarettes and in the trash fires of the dispossessed. Legends will wash from the desecrated burial grounds, graffiti will run down alley walls. Rain will eat the old warpaths, spill the huckleberries, cause toadstools to rise like loaves. It will make poets drunk and winos sober, and polish the horns of the slugs.