On my third visit to Seattle, I packed the usual sweaters and socks, even though each time I didn’t use the extra gear. My son, Tyler, texted me the night before my trip, “Bring a jacket. It’s rainy and cold.”
During my visit the year before, chalk-skinned Seattle residents fanned themselves silly in their short shorts, tank tops, and seldom-worn sundresses. Tyler complained about the heat even though he was raised in Florida. “Abnormally high temperatures,” he said. “It’s never like this.”
Five months later, I visited again. The sun shone for a week, cutting through the late November cold. I removed my winter coat as we walked. My son said, “It’s never like this.”
Coming from the Sunshine State of Florida, I wondered if my body harnessed solar power, transporting the sun wherever I traveled.
Rainy and cold. Cloudy and drizzly. Overcast and gloomy. I’ve often heard these phrases describe Seattle. So far, I had witnessed nothin’ but blue skies.
With a rain jacket and sturdy shoes, (goodbye flip-flops) I left to experience the elusive chilly Seattle. Upon arrival, raindrops dotted the airplane window. Cool air flowed through the jet way. I looked forward to a break from the stifling heat and humidity of Florida. On the drive to my son’s home, the light rain dissipated. An unseen giant hand whisked away heavy clouds.
The next morning, sun streamed through the windows. By afternoon, Tyler blamed me (again) for bringing the scorching Florida sun. “It’s never like this.”
This was a sign of global warming or confirmation of my solar superpower.
Seattle is nicknamed the Emerald City. Gorgeous green trees and foliage inspired us to hike Snoqualmie Falls and Twin Falls. We walked the starter trail. I tied my jacket around my waist, wishing for sandals instead of thick socks and shoes. “The weather is never like this,” another hiker announced. She fanned her flushed face with a huge oak leaf.
To this Floridian, the weather was perfect. The sun peeked in and out through the dense forest. Sunshine On My Shoulders . . .
Back at the condo, (Who needs air conditioning in such a cool climate?) we opened the sliding glass doors and windows. No breeze. We stared at snow-covered Mount Baker in the distance. After reminding me the weather is never like this, my son made plans for a drive to Mount Rainier National Park. It was spring. Many of the trails had just opened, but there was still snow. Cold refreshing snow!
“Wear warm clothes,” my son cautioned.
The day was fraught with sunshine. Snow melted and flowed down walkways, creating hundreds of mini-waterfalls. I wanted to make a snow angel like I did in Rovaniemi, Finland, but didn’t want to get wet for the drive home.
With my newly discovered superpowers, I felt responsible for skiers leaving the dwindling slopes.
That night, the heat made it difficult to sleep. And now my son cooks (Gotta love Green Chef!) and made our meal over a hot stove in a kitchen with no windows. With a tiny fan for comfort, we binge-watched episodes of Silicon Valley while eating cold Rainier cherries and drinking chilled white wine.
We spent my last full day in Seattle at the movies and paid a fortune for Milk Duds and Raisinets in exchange for air conditioning.
When I left the Emerald City, the forecast promised a high of almost ninety degrees.
I’m reluctant to return to Seattle with my solar superpowers. But I believe the hype of rainy, dismal weather and people chanting, “It’s never like this,” is just to discourage travelers from overpopulating such a beautiful part of the country.
What is your favorite sunny city?