Western Oregonians only see the sun for a few months out of the year. October, November, December, January, February, March, and April are wet months. Roads and sidewalks hold tiny ponds. The sound of windshield wipers is a constant. Hair frizzes, mascara runs, and a certain heaviness settles over the valley, the kind that leaves rain jackets eternally damp.
What really starts to drive most people mad, though, isn’t the constant drizzle; it’s the clouds. Even when the weather is dry, the moisture hangs in the air, a cool threat. Light fades even faster than one would expect of mid-November. Time becomes relative as the cloud cover presses down, sieving the light from the day. Night alleviates dusk. The temperature mixes with the wet as it drops, sinking through layers of shirt and sweater and flannel and jacket until it reaches the soul. Oregonians curl into themselves like turtles under duress.
But there are people like me. To me, these darkening months are a season of warmly welcomed coffee, of spices, of melancholy, of creativity. I can watch a candle flicker and imagine the light fighting the darkness, each minute movement a punch against the impending blackness. Quilts pile up on my bed. Books pile up on my nightstand. My journals fill with sonnets and sketches and fragments of stories that will never see the light of day. For instance:
“trees outside my window burst into flame
each year as the sky bends towards the earth–
and i always think it’s a crying shame
that such martyrdom, grey heavens must girth.”
What does that mean? I might know, but I’ll probably never tell. Yet that couplet fluttered from my fingertips so much faster than such poems do in the warm summer months. Some people feel oppressed by the impending darkness–but I see it as an excuse to make my own light.