I live in Oregon. Northwestern Oregon, to be precise.
It's beautiful here, truly. It's green, for one thing. There are mountains and rivers, waterfalls and, a couple of hours away, beaches. Springtime brings an explosion of blooms: crocuses, daffodils, and rhododendron bushes. It is gorgeous.
Then there's the summer. Clear sunny skies, largely comfortable temperatures. Beautiful.
And then, autumn. My favorite, hands down. The season turns. There are crisp, cool mornings...the trees donning their glamorous gowns of red, orange, and rich yellow. Absolutely stunning.
But then autumn, glorious spiced autumn turns gray. The sky grows dim and the rains begin. Rains which, as seasoned NW dwellers know well, will not really stop for many months. The year grows old, the days grow short, and everything grows damp and - well, soggy.
As I've mentioned before, I'm not from 'round these parts. I was a happy Midwesterner, and transplanting to this part of the country was something of a shock to my system. It took me a long time to begin to acclimate, to accept the rain for what it is: part of the package of this place. A huge part of what makes it so beautiful; the driving force of all the greenery - and those lovely springtime blossoms.
Ah, but I didn't really find the key until last year. That missing piece, the thing that keeps me from becoming grumpy as soon as the sun hides its face. That key, that secret (for me anyway) is very simple. When I go out in the rain, I wear a hat.
A hat! One with a brim, to keep the raindrops off my glasses and my face. A covering to keep my head dry and warm. Somehow, wearing a hat as I move through the drizzle, I feel something like a superhero.
Perhaps it sounds silly. Maybe it's superficial. But for me, it is the key. At long last I've learned the secret to being content out in the wet, wet, wet northwest elements, whether cold or not, whether I'm watching soccer or choosing pumpkins.
The humble hat.