Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sunday in Seattle

I think I've done a pretty good job of keeping up with this blog, considering I'm on vacation. But of course my concentration hasn't been focused on it like a laser.

I've got a few more days here--returning in midweek to my home, where I hear it's been about ninety degrees lately. New England's like that; nothing subtle about the change of seasons. Weeks of cold driving rain and then bam!, it's summer, and you remember just why summer is not necessarily your favorite season, although it has its pluses.

I can just imagine how much the mosquitoes have loved the recent rains and proliferated to epic proportions. There's a joke in some parts of New England that the mosquito is the state bird, its only serious competition for that honor being the black fly. Both of these insects bite, of course, but true connoisseurs can tell the difference between the itch and swelling caused by one and the other (personally, I think the discomfort of the black fly's bite lasts longer and is sharper, but that's just me).

New Englanders live for summer, since so many of them own boats, praying for nice weather so they finally can get out on the ocean or lake. It's not often it works out the way they want, but it's all the more appreciated when it happens.

Seattle is a bit the same, from what I can gather from my short stay here--nice weather is an elusive commodity. The gardens are different--although not so different as one might think. The same azaleas and rhododendrons, which thrive here, and I've never seen such tall foxglove. Watering isn't necessary, of course, but sun can be an issue. Seattleites wait for the summer with almost as much anticipation as New Englanders do, because it's the only time of relatively reliable sunshine and warmth.

That's why I timed my trip for now; I figured I'd have a chance of good weather, and that's the way it's panned out. The quality of the light here is very similar to the light at home, as well--must be something about these high latitudes that adds a certain bright shimmer. And it stays light so late that I lose track of the time, enhanced by the fact that I rarely wear a watch.

The food is good in Seattle--very very good--and I think the shopping, too, although I've not done much of it (I must remedy that failing before I leave). I can see there's a big hip music scene, a predominantly young one. Lots of street people and panhandlers, though, not unusual in a large liberal laid-back town like this, especially one where it's possible to live on the street year-round without freezing to death (although one might be in danger of drowning).

The rain, when it comes, is mostly short-lived this time of year. It can be a sunny day and suddenly, without your even realizing it, the cloud cover comes and you feel the first familiar drops and try to take cover. Real Seattleites don't care--they do it (whatever "it" might happen to be) in the rain. People carry a windbreaker or fleece wherever they go, and most of the time they get a chance to use them several times during the day. Taking one's jacket off and on is an aerobic exercise in Seattle.

And now I'm going out. It's cloudy, with a chance of rain. So, what else is new?

[ADDENDUM: About three minutes after I published this post, the sun came out; beautiful day. But by the time I came to write this addendum and remark on that fact, completely overcast again.]


At 4:05 PM, June 18, 2006, Blogger nyomythus said...

Roasting hot in the deep south -- have fun up there.

At 4:31 PM, June 18, 2006, Blogger olivia1 said...

You should take a ferry ride over to Vancouver and spend a day at Butchart Gardens. It is so beautiful. I treasure the memory of just revelling in the stunning sweeps of beds and wonderful plethora of colors. We went in August when the annuals were probably at their peak. You will almost never be closer than you are now so try to fit it in if you have never been!

At 4:58 PM, June 18, 2006, Blogger Robert Holzbach said...

Actually, there was an article in the Boston Globe on just this point -- the effect of the floods on the mosquito population. But, Good News! -- the floods supposedly destroyed the first wave of mosquito larvae, so we should have noticably less bugs.

I'm in a Boston suburb and it certainly hasn't been buggy bad.

I think the big plus of Boston in summer is that it seems like you only have 2 to 4 weeks of real heat. That's great!

At 7:59 PM, June 18, 2006, Blogger The probligo said...

Auckland NZ has a standing joke, and there is a pop song that picks it up - Split Enz I think - that Auckland "has four seasons in one day".

Your description brought to mind the extensions to that Auckland quip -

"If you think this is bad, just wait ten minutes."

or if the weather is particularly fine and hot -

"Go stand in the sun. Summer will end in ten minutes and counting..."

At 8:02 PM, June 18, 2006, Blogger Cappy said...

Great Lakes weather is typically nice, for about 4 weeks in the fall. At any rate, the more severe summers and winters provide a good excuse to avoid working around the house.

At 10:48 PM, June 18, 2006, Blogger Dave said...


I'm a Seattle native and yes, as the joke goes, I have webbed feet.

You should be here when it really is Summer. In July. Usually a Tuesday.

At 3:18 AM, June 19, 2006, Blogger robaf70 said...

I'd like to buy you a coke and go for a walk.

At 11:43 AM, June 19, 2006, Blogger Tom Grey said...

My dear PC friends Ed & Regina got married in Seattle, and after I got married in Slovakia went to visit them (while my pregnant wife went to Beijing to represent Slovakia at the UN Women's conference).

Regina got us lovely gifts at Nordstrom's, Eva still uses the black purse. It was better than the Macy's near Stanford (or in NYC).

At 12:48 PM, June 19, 2006, Blogger nyomythus said...

Macy's near Stanford

That's where I almost accidentally drove my van into David Letterman as he was crossing the street arguing with some woman -- 1988.

At 3:47 AM, June 20, 2006, Blogger still realizing said...

There used to be a bald eagle living at the southern tip of Mercer Island. The nest was up high in one of the pines. They may still be there.


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