I live in Washington State. To be more precise, the western side of Washington where the saying goes: “We Don’t Tan, We Rust.”
Yes, we are famous for our rain. But, contrary to popular belief, we don’t even rank in the top ten for rainfall in the United States. That honor goes mostly to the Southern states.
Here’s where we do excel though: We are number one for having the most days with heavy cloud cover (226 days a year at last count).
See, in the rainiest states, quite often a cloud moves in, dumps a ton of water, and then the sun comes out again. That’s not how we do it here. Sure, we have our torrential rainstorms, but like a sneeze that just refuses to come, they are preceded with weeks of dark, heavy, cloudy days that don’t go away even after the clouds have finally released their rain. It is not unusual for us to go a month without ever seeing the sun.
That’s just life here in the Pacific Northwest. We’re vitamin D deficient and we lead the nation in sunglasses sales (we need them so rarely that we can’t remember where we put our old pair). We drive with our headlights on during the day (we kind of have to) and we invest in raincoats with hoods (umbrellas are for wimps).
All that changes when we do get a sunny day though. You know those movies where people live in underground bunkers because they think the world blew up and then they find out they can come above ground again? Well, that’s what Seattle is like on a sunny day.
At first, we walk around with our eyes almost squinted shut and crack jokes like, “What is that yellow ball in the sky?!” Then, we go out and buy a new pair of sunglasses. But, following that is a city-wide celebration. People skip school and work just to sit outside. And, after all the rain and cloud cover, the green scenery is stunning. We don’t care if the temperature is in the fifties, if that sun is shining, it’s time to don shorts and sandals and head outside. Sunny days are not to be wasted here.
And, that’s the beautiful part. True camaraderie comes from having faced a hardship together and surviving it. So, after all the dark days, we put our differences aside and come together with joy. People smile at each other and say hello. No one is a stranger it seems. Our sunny days may be rare, but that causes us to truly embrace them. And, it’s a beautiful thing to witness.
“So that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:6 NIV