As we backed into our driveway after church today, I saw a most astounding sight: our neighbors across the street had sprinklers running. Sprinklers--here in the usually rain drenched terrain of the northwest on the second weekend of October. If you don't live here, you have no idea how remarkable this is. Remember the line from Sleepless in Seattle--"It rains nine months of the year in Seattle." And it's true of our medium-sized berg two hours north of the emerald city as well. But not this year. This year the sun started showing its face in May and has barely hidden it since. Oh sure, we've had a day or two of rain, even as long as a week's stretch, but nothing like normal. Usually about this time people have pulled out their fleece and gortex and are happily covering up for the duration (though very few people carry umbrellas, unless you have to watch a child's soccer match in a downpour--then all the giant golf umbrellas we keep in our closets come out. Believe me I've stood under them a time or twenty...but as long as we keep moving it takes far too much effort to use umbrellas nine months of the year).
Yes, there's often a week in September or early October we call "Indian Summer" for some unknown reason (it sounds a little pejorative, doesn't it? Kind of like the Washington Redskins, which really needs to change its name). So called Indian Summer means the sun shines, we take off our jackets for a day and pretend we still have all the freedom of summer. But it doesn't last. We don't expect it to. One of the reasons we don't mind "Falling back" to Standard Time is that we might as well hole up in our homes earlier, I mean what would we do outside in all that rain? But this aberrant year, if the sun continues to make its appearance, we're all going have trouble setting our clocks back. We'll grieve this long, beautiful summer, remember it fondly for years to come.
But oddly, yesterday, when I ran to the store, I saw lots of fleece. More than I expected. Sure, it's not 80 degrees now, but when it's this warm in March we pull out our shorts and flip-flops. It made me wonder, though, if all these northwesterners have begun longing for the rain, longing for the weather to change with the season. Longing for life to be what we expect, right down to the temperature. Sprinklers running is NOT part of the norm. Much to my personal chagrin, I stopped watering my pots mid-September, expecting the weather to turn any minute. Now I have a whole patio full of dead geraniums. Quite the welcoming sight for anyone wanting to ring our doorbell. Hmmm, maybe not such a bad idea, if only to discourage people selling magazines, knives, window-coverings, religion.
We're creatures of habit, even of weather. We want there to be a rhythm to our days, a pattern to our years. And even if we absolutely LOVE these sun-drenched days (I'm telling you, this continent would tilt to the northwest, if everyone knew how magnificantly beautiful it was here when it's sunny!), it takes rain to make it so. It's because of rain that Seattle is the Emerald City, it's rain that gives us these flowers, and heirloom vegetables and glorious evergreens. Not measly sprinklers, not watering cans--unless that sprinkler, that watering can comes from heaven.
I never thought I'd be saying this, but God, bring the rain. Please.