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10 July 2007

The Sun and 'the Mountain'

Or how to make any readers in the UK REALLY hate you...

When we were despairing of ever seeing the sun again as it poured with rain throughout the winter, I would call Seattle a 'godforsaken land' and people would nod their heads sagely and say 'just wait until summer - that's the reason we're all here'. 

And I would look all these Californians in the eye (Seattle is full of Californians) and wonder if they were indeed stark, staring mad.

Gig Harbor

But now I know the truth, in summer the Pacific North West really is God's own country.  Temperatures around 27 degrees, gentle cooling breezes, no humidity, sunshine sparkling on the water and mountains glistening in all directions. 

In particular Mt Rainier, the symbol of Washington State, and its very own huge volcano, can be seen towering above the landscape wherever you go.  In winter it is mostly completely invisible behind a thick pall of grey cloud - I didn't see it at all for the first two months I was here - and there's always a frisson of excitement whenever 'the Mountain' is 'out' (as they say round these parts). 

It's just so enormous and so very beautiful.

  Tacoma Narrows Bridge

From the I-5

And here's a pic I took from the Space Needle in February so you can get a bit of a sense of scale.

Apologies for recent lack of bloggery.  Shockingly life just gets in the way sometimes.

We've mostly been playing in the sun. Had a great time with our friends from New Jersey, and our Fourth of July party was a ton of work but a huge amount of fun in the end and cemented some rather tenuous relationships.  I'm just trying to catch up now before we head for the Oregon coast on Friday for a long weekend.  Life is tough sometimes.


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The Oregon Coast is rocky and fabulous -- have a wonderful time!

I grew up in the Northwest and I never saw Mt. Rainier until I was sixteen. I lived up north and we had our own beautiful mountain, Mt. Baker, but every time we came to Seattle, Mt. Rainier was hiding. Then, we moved down to Renton into a horrible house whose only redeeming feature was that it fronted a small lake. One morning I rowed out onto the glassy water to cry privately once again about having to move away from my friends, and there it was: the Mountain, rearing up out of its perfect reflection. We couldn't see it from the house, but from the middle of the lake it filled my eyes completely, and my heart as well. All of the Cascade Range volcanos are spectacular, but none has the immense, massive presence of Mt. Rainier. Your word frisson is an excellent descriptor of the feeling one gets when it is out. Thanks for the great post. Please tell us more about your Fourth of July party.

Dana, thanks for your beautiful comment. I felt a bit the same when I first saw it after we'd been here in the torrential rain for two months and I was wondering whether we'd made the biggest mistake of our lives.

It has that effect doesn't it? I wonder if I'll ever live here long enough not to shout 'wow!' every time I catch a glimpse of it round a corner.

rain, rain, rain, grey, grey, grey...rain, rain, rain, grey, grey, GREY... la, la, la... noooo, not jealous in the UK at all!
p.s. I think it is brilliant that you're loving it.

I just found your blog and I am loving it. I've been the Mt. Vernon area many times to visit family and I love the area. I enjoy the perspective you bring as you explore all these new things. I'll be back to check out your adventures! The Oregon coast is fabulous too!

The sun without the heat. You're in one of my favorite places in the WORLD!

Yes I hate you! It's been raining here for weeks. We get some sun and then it suddenly rains. Anyway even though I hate you - ENJOY!

"Or how to make any readers in the UK REALLY hate you..."

Well, I suppose if your days consist largely of prancing around on sun decks plumping up Marimekko cushions, flying small children like kites along the Oregon coast, having multiple frissons over mountains and generally 'playing in the sun', then I suppose the weather might have some relevance. For those stuck in an office it might as well rain until September, which it seems to have every intention of doing...

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