Living most of my life in Southern California, first in the Mojave Desert and then in San Diego, I had always wanted to live someplace where it rained more than twice a year (a slight exaggeration, but not by much). I can remember running outside when it rained, lifting my face up to the sky, and then jumping in a few puddles (even as an adult). I became a bit of a weather geek, watching the weather forecast constantly, hoping for a "chance of precipitation" in the five-day forecast, and becoming very grumpy if that chance dissipated, as it often did. The light mist of a foggy morning didn’t cut it for me. I wanted rain, real rain, pounding rain, saturating rain. Rain that would soak everything, running off of the house onto the pavement, rain that I could hear on the roof and that made me suck in my breath with the power of it.
When we moved to Oregon, I got my wish.
I wondered if I would tire of it. I haven’t. It’s certainly been an adjustment...but of the very best kind. Although there are more days spent inside now, I find that it has also opened up time and space in my life for reflection, for dreaming, for planning, for creativity, for kindness. I spend these rainy days making soap, grading essays, reading books, tending lavender cuttings in the greenhouse, or solving the world's problems with my daughter Lauren over lunch. Mark and I go for long walks in the rain, me in my black raincoat and rainboots, hood on, head down, looking at the road in front of me, appreciating the warmth of a handmade blue flannel scarf. I sit in my living room with its enormous windows and watch the clouds move through the Douglas Firs on the hill and think about the wonderful people in my life. I am more present. I am more thankful.
What is it about rain that causes this? I think it's because when the sun is out, there is always something that needs to be done. I think it might be hard-wired in us. The lawn needs to be mowed, the garden needs to be planted, or windows need to be washed. The lavender needs to be weeded or trimmed or harvested. But when it rains, many of these things become less likely (though not impossible) and instead I am presented with another possibility: rest, introspection, creativity. The rain somehow slows life down.
Sure, there are moments when I tire of the grey skies, but I know that the time is coming soon when the rain will go away for a while. And when that happens, I will welcome the sun, embrace its light, and appreciate its warmth. I will get busy tending all of the lavender plants that will be bursting forth with blooms and will inhale their lovely fragrance. But for now, I will enjoy this slower time, listen to the rain on my roof, and maybe head outside to splash in a puddle or two.
Hello! My name is Pam Reynolds Baker and I am a mom/wife /English teacher and lavender farmer located in Dundee, Oregon.