Friday, January 14, 2011

And the wind will howl...

The Umbrella Fall-out
If you know your geography at all, or have ever been here, or heck, read any books set around the area, or listened to any Nirvana or DCFC, it should come as no surprise that it rains a lot around these parts. I had certainly been warned about it ad nauseam and ad infinitum before I moved here. "It's nice in the summer, but the winters sure are dark and rainy..."
Well, I've mentioned before that while I miss snow something fierce, I'm perfectly happy in all kinds of weather, save maybe for gray skies weeks on end with nothing else happening. One of the great things about living on an island (other than the fact that we do have a nice micro-climate that does indeed make it very nice in the summer) is that you can really watch the weather pass over you. We can see it gathering on the horizon, sliding down the mountain towards us and sometimes pass us by, only to create entirely different patterns on a near by island. It even varies from one end of the Island to the next.
Here, like everywhere, weather is a favorite topic of light small talk. My childhood best friend who lives in New Zealand once told me that whenever locals there discuss it, they invariably talk about the wind-a cold wind blowing from the Pole can entirely alter the pattern. In Finland people discuss the possibility of snow most months out of the year. I imagine that in the Caribbean it's hurricanes and in Sahara it's sandstorms. Here it's precipitation.
The Lookout
I'm told that I've missed it's true force thus far due to the fact that my first winter was unseasonably warm. This one, now this one, was supposed to be the real deal (it still can be, I suppose), with La Nina -cycle kicking in. Old-timers predicted a harsh winter from birds and snowberries and pine needles. Our local papers wrote articles on storm-preparedness, always ending them in exclamation points. We had a few windstorms. It snowed on Thanksgiving. Nothing out of the ordinary. The climatologists and the old-timers shook their heads, the worst was still to come. False security. Wait 'till January.
Birds of Heather
I'm still waiting. I love storms. I love venturing out in dire circumstances. I love being able to hole up. I miss the extreme weather of my homeland. Not just the white magic of the snow, or the breath-taking cold (-23F on Christmas Eve according to my mom.), but the intensity.
As far as I'm concerned it rains a lot, but not quite enough. The last few nights and mornings have seemed as originally promised, huge pounding drops that soak everything and drench the earth. I can't help but wish the stories had been true. I could go for a long winter of mostly rain, I think.

The rain, to me seems rather wonderful, since it is rarely cold and you can walk around in a light cardigan, or even shirt sleeves in the middle of January (provided of course you have an umbrella) (Or don't care about being drenched. I alternate between the two.). Not to mention harvest greens from your own garden while you're at it. It's like magic. (It even stops for long enough to snap a few pictures.)
Find and ye shall seek
As for all my fellow Pacific Northwest-ites who rejoice in constantly complaining about the rain? I say: boo-hickety-hoo! Try living so close to the arctic circle that the ground freezes solid for seven months out of the year and around this time you get an average 5 hours of daylight. Now that is a little uncomfortable. I'm a firm believer in loving where you live or leaving. If you miss sunshine so terribly, go and get you some.

(I must say most of those born and bred here do not have this affliction. My husband, for instance, never complains about the weather, even when it effects his plans.)
old one eye
I, on the other hand, should probably get used to the idea that it doesn't rain quite as much as one might hope. Or maybe go chase the rain to the Olympic Peninsula. Which we plan to do on our California trip. Camping in the rain can be a lot of fun, methinks.
A whole post about the weather, who woulda thunk it? What is your local climate like? No, seriously. I would like to know.
This outfit, by the way was inspired by a certain Northern Cali-girl. Your colors are my colors Heather. Thank you.

Peace, love, rain clouds, blue skies, whatever you want...


  1. I'd like to say we have fierce cold winter weather here in Ottawa, but this and the last winter have been unseasonably warm and with very little snow. Which I'm not complaining about, as I am a fan of neither the cold nor the snow! Those are some lovely photos :)

  2. all i can think about when i see your pics---besides your utter loveliness--is that winter, especially following a storm, is the best best best time to go beachcombing, which is one of my favorite things in the whole wide world to do.

    so now i have beachcombing and your upcoming travels on the brain, and a smile on my face. thank you!

  3. Very Nice!
    Glad I found your blog!!

    Common Cents

  4. i recently found your blog and like all of your pictures + posts a lot + keeps my dream of living closer/in the woods alive!

    i live in washington dc, grew up here though lived in sf for five years and my old man is from there. last year we got a huge blizzard (though probably not considered quite that huge to you) but this year it's just been cold with a few light snows. usually it's 30 & 40f in the winter and incredibly humid during the summer. fall and spring are a lot alike, mid 50-60f, windy, rainy. it's been fun having seasons again since moving away from san francisco where it rained for five months straight my first winter, was cold in the summer and ALWAYS WINDY. i really hate the wind but i do love the rain, even five months of it!!

    i love talking about the weather! :)

  5. oooh you've got those earthy browns and vibrant sunfire reds down pat my lady. you look like a bright little sunburst out there on that gray drizzly beach. no wonder the weather never bothers you; you make it fun and bring a burst of stormy energy all your own to match it. i like your bag o' goodies too, love to imagine what's inside... and most of all THAT CUTE UMBRELLA! i want one with ruffles. it is the only functional item i own that is not embellished with holly hobbie or some such sweet 70s nonsense!

    i have to agree about weather and climate. i am surrounded by people (not darin) who complain about the cold. and i am talking, 40, 45, or even 50 degrees! now it does get a little uncomfortable having a big drafty expensive house that never completely heats unless we want to spend a thousand bucks a month, but hell i say, BUNDLE UP! i throw on thermals under nighties under robes, socks, slippers, cups of tea and get books and build fires if we haven't run out of wood and I LOVE IT. this all despite the fact that i am probably more of a sunshine person, but i am with you. bring me storms, bring me true winter, i'll take pounding rain and wind and ice and SNOW any day till may. i want to see it swirl and roil out my windows, i want to take a walk with mittens on and get rosy cheeks and have to warm up again when i arrive.

    don't hold me to it though. as darin says, the weather is a chaotic system, and so am i!!!

  6. i love what you are wearing, first off. i'm a PNW girl myself, down here in the southern most region, Humboldt County. the rain took me a while to get used to when i moved here 10 years ago from the Bay Area, because i grew up in drought years where it never rained. but i love it. i wouldn't live anywhere else on this earth but the PNW. it's heaven. great post,and while i'll admit to an occasional bitch-fest about the weather, in general i love me some rain.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Number one, you are so adorable that even that seamless gray can't dull the shine you give off.

    I can definitely sympathize with your missing intense weather. I'm so used to New York's climate and though that weather can't hold a candle to your Finnish weather, it was much more...I don't know. Moody? We had a variety of weather, snow, rain (at all times of the year, hurrah!), sunshine. The works.

    Now, living on the Aegean coast, I find the climate a little strange. Summer lasts at least five months and during the hottest times, the temperature can get up to 40*C easily. During that time, we have NO rain and everything dries up save for trees and mean prickly things. Hell, over the NY summers I never ever put shoes on to walk around outside. Here...forget about it. Winters are pretty easy though, temperature wise. The ground doesn't freeze, we don't have snow. Around this time the flowers start coming up and by March there will be so many wild edibles in the yard it drives me crazy with joy (I'll have to do a post on that!). The only bad thing is that our house is so damn cold. It doesn't warm up at all until around April and our wood stove doesn't do much on the coldest of days. But I layer until I look like the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man, so it's not so horrible. Like you, since I'm so close to the sea, it's very easy to track the weather as it sweeps over the sea. Usually, when I see clouds descending over this mountain, I know it's time to unplug everything and hunker down, because things will get violent. We have some insane storms and things can go from possibly apocalyptic, to sunny in ten minutes. I love the rain though, because it means lots of grass for the horses.

  9. Oh my god, that was a long comment. Haha, sorry, girl!

  10. your photos and outfit are beautiful as always!

    I live in the mid-atlantic, and I suppose our weather patterns are the "traditional" ones that are taught in school books everywhere... very cold with fairly regular snow in the winter, very hot in the summer, and nice temperatures in between in the summer and fall.

    However, I did spend the "fall" in Peru, where it was actually spring. I remember so clearly walking along the sidewalk in late november with the warm breeze and flowers blowing everywhere. I used to be a fall/winter girl, but I think my warm weather year converted me, and now I'm more than ready to put away my winter coat.

  11. Today, here in Maryland, there is a soft blanket of about an inch of snow, crispy cold and sunshine outside. And when I woke up this morning, my paper whites had bloomed overnight, which in contrast to the snow, was truly magical.

    As for the rain in the Pacific Northwest, natives never complain about it nor carry an umbrella. A good rain jacket is needed to really blend in. I miss the mist as much as the rain. The mist the sits towards the tops of trees and burns off my mid morning.

  12. Well, it rains a helluva lot here in England too. I love the changeable weather, it always gives you something to talk to the old lady on the bus about. We connect over clouds. I prefer fresh autumn days with rich colour and dew more over sunshine. Hate the heat. Love cosying up in layers. But mostly I just like to feel a part of the world, whatever season it's going through.

  13. Apparently our weather system is quite similar to the PNW...In Ireland it rains a lot too. And it can be grey for days and days and weeks and weeks.
    This year we have had the coldest winter since the 1800's. We've had lots of snow so far, but now it's quite mild in temperature but quite stormy. We love to talk about the weather here too!
    Lovely pictures as usual!

  14. I imagine that living in an island environment the weather would play a big part in day to day life.

    Here in New Zealand the weather is generally fairly temperate as you are saying. I live in the city, so I'm pretty far away from the snow. As such, it's always really exciting when it snows here!

  15. Oh Milla your long braids are so cute!

    And that little outfit is absolutely darling. I would wear the shit out of that vest if it were mine.

    One thing I want to talk about when we meet next month is Finland, I am so very curious about your life there. -23, no fun! But being that far north does sound dreamy.

    Oh and your mushroom bag- Mycie has the same print on her wall :-)

  16. These photos are gorgeous! Gray beach days are the best for picture taking. You and your tripod are rocking my world.

    Oddly enough, we had such a warm day today that I wore sandals and it’s supposed to be sunny and pushing 70 degrees for the next couple of days! Coming down from the Sierras to this has been like leaving Winter and arriving in Spring, very strange.

    I like that we get the different seasons here but I also don’t think I’m an extreme weather kind of girl so our moderate weather suits me just fine… we get cold but not too frigid, we get rain but usually not too much, we have heat waves in the summer but not too often. All around it’s pretty pleasant here and I like that we can be surprised with spring like days in January.

    It will be interesting to see what kind of weather you guys bring down with you. Historically, it is almost always a beautiful day on my birthday, so you could very well be in for some sunshine when you arrive, or not, you never know, but I guess that’s all part of the fun, right?

  17. I am so incredibly smitten with your blog. Your clothes are so lovely, your writing divine, and all of it is just so eccentric and magical.

  18. Well, living in the Mojave Desert says plenty I think. Yet, desert life is not as bad as many would think. It will be around 68*F here today, with the warm sun shining down on us with promises of the beautiful Springtime ahead. The weather has been just lovely this week, and even coerced the loving husband and I to get out on the bicycles and work-out the aching joints. Of course, there is talk that it will drop down again before we heat up for our long summer. Typically we average 112*F from around the end of May well into September. Which suits us well, due to our outdoorsy nature. We just stay in during the hottest part of the day, and plan our outings around the baking sun. As always your post is just lovely, and the pictures speak a lively language all their own.

  19. My weather is a lot like yours....tee-hee.
    We went walking this afternoon and it was so warm we didn't have to wear jackets. Whoa. I was really hoping for snow...

  20. that little vest things is very cute! we usually have hot hot dry summers, with about two or three weeks in the high 30s or over 40 degrees celsius, and winter is very mild (10 degrees would be a cold cold day!). this year the drought has well and truly broken and we've had buckets of rain, and so far only two days over 30! which is very strange, but it's lovely to see things growing and growing, as opposed to normal summers when it's so hot and there's no water and everything turns brown. green is a nice change.

  21. Oh, how I do love a good rainy day! We are having a prolonged and very unusual winter rain that is lasting all day today.

    First things first though-- you're adorable! Love the color inspired outfit-- I found Heather's post on choosing a color to wear really cool. I also love some of the gray gloom and doom you captured in your photos. I've never been, but have heard the many complaints about the rain & fog of the NW.

    I absolutely know what you mean about desiring dramatic weather shifts once and a while. When we lived in Mexico the predictability of the weather was frustrating. The sun came out every single f****** day! Being that we had arrived from the mid-west the first few months were great-- but then after a while we grew weary of the hot hot sun and its burning heat. How it drove us to find lingering spaces of shade here and there-- until eventually we found shelter indoors during siesta. When it was time for the rains to come-- they didn't. On the days the sky opened up and finally rained we were so happy. It was like an incredible thirst being quenched. It was then that I realized how important just the smallest shifts in weather are not only critical for the earth, but for the human spirit. Now that we live in FL I try to not complain about the weather or the lack of season. I love that there are rainy periods, I love when there is some cold (because its not often), and most of all I love the gray days because it reminds me of the midwest and of a real hard winter. The majority of the year though, the sun will come out and it will be humid here.

    PS: As a side note, have you ever read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle? There is a great line in that book and she talks about how it had not rained in AZ for many days. She stops and talks with a clerk at a gas station and she comments to the clerk that it is suppose to rain the next day. To her utter horror, the clerk shrugs it off and says "I hope not, it's my day off!" To which the author thinks to herself-- we live in the middle of a frickin' desert, we barely have enough water to sustain ourselves, and it has not rained for 4 months.... I thought it was neat how she pointed out the disconnect that we sometimes have with our surroundings.

    sorry Milla-- that was a long post-- apparently I think more about the weather than I realized!

  22. Love the serene look of that little shore! Your red pops out just a hint of cheerful color in a monochromatic looking backdrop! It's been so hot here that we hung out at the the park everyday this last weekend- it was like summer! I'm making home made chicken noodle/broccoli soup and I have beads of sweat on my nose at 6:30 pm!!!! CRAZY weather. Happy Monday!

  23. well, you saw my post about last weekend :D 80+!!! as you may assume, in southern california it is typically nice. since i've never lived anywhere else, i find it quite boring. i'd love to experience extreme weather. especially winter and fall.

    you look adorable in your red skirt! and i love the shot of you holding the feather. such a beauty you are!

    and yes, i wish i could have tea with you! it kills me your coming to this sunny state and i don't get to meet you! oh well, there's always another time. i can only imagine how much fun you all will have together! so cool!

  24. it's true that wherever people are, they focus on their particular "thing" -- here in sf people talk about the fog, and if it's in or out, constantly. i love it here; the incredible, sometimes moody, sometimes jubilant weather is just a bonus!