Here Comes That Good Old Oregon Rain

Sunrise_92117[1]It was like God flipped a switch. Overnight this sunny beach town turned into the soggy Oregon coast, complete with hard rain, wind, and thunder. Note dog under the desk. Summer was so good it’s hard to be easygoing about losing it. I did not want to stash the lounge cushions or strap down the hot tub cover. I did not want to stock up on pellets for the pellet stove. I did not want to wake up to darkness and spend my day in storm-cloud gloom.

Tough, says God. Lots of people have it much worse these days, with earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. And didn’t I pray hard for rain to put the fires out? Yes, I did. I even cleaned out my gutters and stacked my wood in preparation. Before you know it, I’ll be making soup.

But I’ve already got two pairs of soggy shoes and two pairs of soggy socks and one pair of soggy jeans hanging up to dry from our recent rainy walks. Annie, my canine personal trainer,  does not cut me any slack for rainy days. Yesterday’s trek through the woods may have been our longest speed walk since her knee surgery at the end of May. That dog was truckin’. The rain soaking into her fur didn’t seem to bother her. Me, I could have done without it.

I wore one of Fred’s old hats, his old rain jacket (I wore mine out), and my own jeans and tennies. The rain soaked into the hat and cascaded down the jacket onto my pants. It leaked into my shoes. I shivered now and then, even though it was still 60 degrees. Wait till December when we go below freezing.

My hat knocking against my raincoat made a noise that convinced me a bear was watching us. No. Bears are smart enough to stay in when it rains. We saw the usual collection of dead newts, squashed mice, and discarded fast-food containers. The blackberries are gone, and the first mushrooms have sprouted up. The neighbors’ RV is wrapped up in a silver tarp, vacation time over.  The yellow school bus rolled by us, depositing its last passenger on Birch Street. School is in session. We have started religious education at church. I have traded sandals for boots. My online piano lesson featured the song “Autumn Leaves.”

The calendar says it’s the first day of autumn. But who cares what the calendar says? We need only watch the sky. These days, it keeps changing. When I woke up this morning, we had blue sky. Now it’s all clouds. Yesterday, before the sky turned black and it rained, I saw bright pink clouds above the trees. “Annie, look!” I said. She was too busy staring at her empty bowl to appreciate the sunrise. Nor was she interested at lunchtime when at least five different kinds of birds congregated in the back yard. Stellar’s jays, robins, flickers, juncos, and sparrows. The birds are getting ready for winter.

Grab your raincoat. Here we go.

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The ebook version of The Best of Unleashed in Oregon is online now at Amazon.com. Only $2.99. Grab yourself a copy. If you prefer a paperback, that’s in the works. It should be available next week at the same place.

 

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Time for rain, giant pumpkins, and fleece


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Tis the season when I stand in the rain every morning and evening urging Annie to leave the doorway and “go potty,” when I pile up damp towels and soggy shoes, when the sun is but a memory. The rainy season has begun, and the snowbirds are heading to Arizona.
It happened so quickly. Last week, I lived on the deck in the sun, reading, writing, playing music, doing yoga, snuggling with the dog or just lying flat out soaking up the warmth and light. Did you know that many of us who live on the Oregon coast are seriously short of vitamin D? It’s true.
We hadn’t had any measurable rain for two months. That’s normal in many places, but not here. The lawns were turning brown, and for the first time ever, fleas showed up at our house, finding Annie’s dense fur a fabulous playground. After a couple days of her hiding in her crate and literally dragging her tail, we made an emergency trip to the vet, thinking she was sick, only to find she was infested with fleas. An expensive triple-pronged pharmaceutical attack later, she’s feeling better.
The leaves have been falling for weeks, and now I understand why I should have raked them up. They have become a soggy brown mat on the lawn, now joined by the season’s first fallen branches. The bird bath, which had gone dry, is now a floating pool of pine needles. Although I did pack in a load of pellets last week, I never cleaned out the gutters, so waterfalls cascade right over my front door. I’m wondering how I’m going to keep my spa cover from flying off in today’s high winds; last year’s winds ripped all the straps off.
This is just the beginning. The weather forecasters say we will see the sun again on Wednesday and Thursday before the rain returns. Meanwhile, although I still have my tan lines, I’ll be putting on my rain suit to walk the dog. A neighbor stopped Saturday to tell me I was awfully dedicated to be walking Annie in the rain, but nine months out of the year, if we don’t walk in the rain, we don’t walk at all.
There are bonuses to the arrival of the rain. The mushrooms are popping up, just in time for the annual mushroom festival held in Yachats every October. People are hanging Halloween decorations—I’ve got my orange lights ready to string in the front windows. They had 100-pound pumpkins at Fred Meyer Saturday. And Christmas is coming.
I’ll miss going out without a jacket, but it is kind of nice to put on the layers of fleece and read by the flickering light of the pellet stove while the rain patters on the skylights.
When my brother visited in May, he wanted to know why everyone he met kept talking about the weather. Well, that’s because it grabs and keeps our attention around here. What are we going to do today? Well, let’s check the weather.
Wherever you are, try to stay dry and warm, but if you get wet, know it will feel fabulous when you change into dry clothes.