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Seattle Rain(bow)
added Fri December 28 2007 at 8:11 PM
I remember a sign on the wall at my mother's house that says something to the effect of "You have to have rain to get rainbows." Which is a nice philosophy about dealing with hardships to see the beauty of life.

I take issue with it. You actually don't have to have rain to get a rainbow (since you can get a rainbow from waterfalls or from some clouds), but you do have to have sun.

You may have heard that it rains a lot in Seattle. It actually doesn't rain as much as most cities on the East Coast, but it is definitely more cloudy than those cities. Most rain statistics focus on the total amount of water, but if rainy days were counted, Seattle would probably rank pretty high. What I hadn't noticed until today, though, is that there are never rainbows in Seattle. Because there is rarely any sun.

The other thing that's weird about Seattle in the winter is that because of the high altitude, the sun does not get very high in the sky. I was taking a walk around the neighborhood in the middle of the day a couple weeks ago and I was shocked to realize that despite it being mid-day, the sun looked like it was still rising. Then after a few moments I realized that the sun was neither east nor west, it was south.

The position of the sun rarely makes itself so obvious, though, since it is usually blocked by a moderate amount of cloud cover. The days are entirely too short and gray.

I got in to work really late today, and as I walked south from the bus into the lazy noon-time sun it started to rain. I'm not sure if it was raining and then the sun came out or if the sun was out when it started raining, but for a few minutes the sun was pouring down and the rain was drizzling through the sunbeams. I knew what that meant. I turned my back on the office for a moment and scanned the northern sky.

I've seen many more spectacular rainbows, especially in Arizona where partially sunny rainstorms are commonplace. But there among the skyscrapers of Seattle, a pale rainbow formed to remind me that you can get rainbows if you put up with the rain - as long as there's a little bit of sun to help out.

mom says:
Living where there is just Way Too Much sunshine, I still figure you gotta have that moisture to be able to enjoy those rainbows. However, I will admit that all too often if we do get some sort of rain then we will also get some wonderfully beautiful rainbows spread across the sky.
posted Wed January 16 2008 at 9:15 PM


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