Summer in Washington: Winter is Coming (Never Forget)
In the height of summer, there are those here who remember the winters and those who don’t. My facebook feed is blowing up with pictures of sunscreen-slathered babies splashing the Hood Canal, smiling faces around a campfire surrounded by towering evergreens, and picnics where watermelon-heavy salads and rosé take pride of place. But often those photos of sunshiney summer abundance come with a very Ned Stark-ish caption attached.
“‘I can’t believe how sunny it’s been! It hasn’t rained in about two months.’
‘Hopefully it stays this way. I’m still damp from last winter.'”
“It rained for five months straight and now we’re having a perfect summer! Enjoy it while it lasts!”
“Sunshine days: Gotta catch them all.”
We’re going in to a heatwave, but aside from these next few days it really has been perfect summer weather– 75 and no chance of rain for months on end. Imagine planning a wedding and knowing it will be all blue sky and fluffy clouds, or planning a backpacking trip and knowing you can leave the blue tarp behind. What state is this?
Of course, those of us growing food are having a rough go. The soil is so dry that even when I water, it just pools on top; it’s like I’m watering a tile floor and hoping that some will just please seep through the cracks before the puddle up and evaporates. I’ve had more stress than I’d like to relate during my first solo year of farming for profit and a lot of that stems from the shocking lack of rain. And here is where I put my Washington Hat on and bring winter into the conversation: I’m still playing catch-up after having to plant so late because my field was basically a lagoon into mid-May. All spring I was wringing my hands over when the rain would finally let up and now that the switch has flipped, I’m again out of luck. So what? Do we have a rainy season and a dry season now? Or is this year a fluke? I couldn’t get the field dry enough to till for months– it was the wettest winter on record and that’s saying something for the Seattle area. I only got around to putting our winter coats away yesterday because the cold had stuck around so long, I just got used to seeing their bulk on the rack. But really, that cold Spring meant that even the few days (or, let’s be real, hours) it wasn’t raining, it still wasn’t drying the fields.
And now here I am hoping for rain, even though I know it will ruin so many people’s summer plans.
Sorry, dudes! I want a solid three days of rain. Maybe cool, like 55 degrees. Or it could be warmer and we might have a nice summer thunderstorm. Wouldn’t that be nice? Eh? Eh? Just imagine sitting with the window slightly cracked, listening to the rain patter against the dusty pane, a rumble of thunder rolling in every now and then. You’ll enjoy watching the steam rise from your cup of coffee, breathe it in– ahhh. The air feels so fresh and the rain makes everything smell so sweet and green. Maybe you’ll bake bread? Turn the oven on in the middle of the day and not give a second thought to what that means for your ability to sleep without a couple fans pointed at you. Hold your baby without the sweat sticking you together. Then let’s repeat that in a week, just to fill things up a bit. The cows will be happier, the trees will be happier, and the veggies will certainly be happier. And, you know, me.