Where I grew up, it is very wet. It is so wet that a typical week in November looks like this:
It is so wet that the fairway on the golf course moves like the surface of a water bed. It is so wet that people sit in bathtubs filled with air just for the variety. But this November, it has not been wet. The weather this month has looked mostly like this:
Until this past week. Finally, finally, it started to rain good and proper, a genuine Northwestern soaker.
Now, I've already established that my years away from home has degraded my immunity to the rain... as in, when I go stand in it nowadays, I clutch myself tightly, look like a bedraggled cat, and whine, "This is weh-he-he-het!" When I make fun of eave-hugging, umbrella-loving, dry boned non-Northwestern pansies, I can now point at myself and say "Ha!" And then I say, "Huh?" and then I go run in the corner and weep.
But not this week. No. The rain, knowing me well, kicked back and began working as lazily as rain can work. The day outside could be blue-skied and sunny, each dew drop a prism of rainbows beckoning me out to frolic - or, in this case, hang my Christmas lights - and as I leashed up the dog and pulled my galoshes on, it would invariably happen. There I would sit, one foot shoed and the other socked, and suddenly the rain would start hamming down on the roof. Sometimes I would try to wait it out, but finally I would pull off my one galosh, curl back into a blanket, and then, of course, then the rain would stop and the sun would shine and the birds would burst out of the bushes like a feathery fireworks display. The rain was doing as little work as possible to keep me inside.
Finally one day I took a stand. I was sitting with my one shoe on, and the rain had just began hammering the roof, but did I let it stop me? Ho-ho! Not this time, you rain, you cloud! You damp enslaver! I pulled on sweatshirt, raincoat, leather hat, work gloves, sunglasses, safety glasses, and all other manner of apparel and leapt into the front yard with my Christmas lights in one hand and my slingshot in the other, ready to do battle.
I should explain, hanging the lights in my yard, with its tangle of tall alder and maple trees, is really more a matter of trying to figure out how to get them up so high. The traditional method was throwing a tennis ball attached to a string, but this year I thought I would get serious with a slingshot and a 2lbs lead weight.
So there I stood against the elements, facing straight into the sky and the pouring rain, shooting my slingshot, and what should happen? Naturally, the drizzle turned into a torrent of apocalyptic proportions, while simultaneously the sun burst through the one hole in the clouds, exactly where I was trying to gaze into the tree branches.
The hat came off. The glasses came off. Off went the gloves, the rain jacket, as each wet layer hampered me more and more and I untangled string for the 500th time, my adrenaline surging. I might have also been laughing maniacally, I'm not sure. "Bring it on! Bring it on!" I cried to the forces of nature. "I'm an Oregonian! Bwa-ha!"
At last, defeated, the rain let up and slid away over the horizon in a dark gloom, thinking perhaps to dampen some inlanders. I had won the day. I was wet and cold and tangled in a spool of cotton string, but I had won.
And so I went inside and had some hot chocolate.