Stormy And Quiet

It is mid-November. Not just one, but an entire series of atmospheric rivers have been washing and rinsing and repeating their parade across Whidbey. Some parts of the area already had twice as much rain as usual for the month, and we’re only halfway through to December. Ironically, this is also a quiet time for islanders; tourism is down, some local flights are postponed due to weather, and the holiday rush is at least a week away. Dynamic and dramatic as well as an excuse to sit and watch the show.

Every season has its fans. The US northeast shouts about its loud autumn colors, as it should. We get ours, too. Big leaf maples aren’t subtle with their enormous yellow leaves. As the storms come through the trees shed their foliage, making it easier for them to survive the winds while also blanketing lawns and roads. The soils get drenched, refilling aquifers, but also loosening roots’ hold. The wind and the water work on the leaves and the roots to topple weaker trees. Some years that means massive outages as branches fall through power lines. This year has had outages, but it seems like not as many as usual. Maybe all the weak trees already fell. Maybe the utility companies have kept ahead of the possibilities. 

With a good roof and windows, it’s a good time to brew something hot, fill a mug, and pull a chair up to a window to watch nature act naturally. 

This season also had some suspense. The pandemic is changing who, where, and how people live. Would vacationers and weekenders decide to retire or work from home here? Road traffic seems to be a bit higher, restaurants seem busier, and backups are sometimes longer; but that might because of construction, fewer workers available, and ferries not sailing because they don’t have enough crew members. Whatever people are deciding, this remains a season when it is easier to recognize friends because the crowds of visitors are less likely to hide them. There might even be parking when you go to run errands. 

Enjoy the season. Get out and about if you can. Watch the colors change from green to yellow to gone – and realize how green the evergreens really are. We may not get the intense colors of the storybook Northeast, but we get to enjoy green when others are looking at bare branches. 

Everyone gets to hunt for that balancing point between trading real socializing for social media, and pandemic cautions with getting out of the house. Grab a seat at a coffeehouse and watch friends do the dance of deciding whether to hug, shake hands, bump elbows, knock fists, wave, bow, or try all of them all at once – which would probably make a fun video.

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