Pineapple Express

Statistically, the last two weeks of November are the wettest time of year in Seattle. Unlike much of the rest of the year, where it’s just overcast and damp most of the time, with random drizzles or showers here and there, the end of November is all about downpours.

The Pineapple Express is a nickname for a meteorologic phenomenon responsible for many of those heavy rains. Once the upper atmosphere’s streams switch to the winter pattern, it is easy for an atmospheric river to form running from the tropical central pacific right up at northwestern Washington. The result in the city is ponds springing up on sidewalks and streets. Drivers not realizing that they can’t safely follow other cars as closely as they were just a month ago. Cars kicking up roostertails ten feet tall and drenching pedestrians.

Still, I love the rain. Admittedly, I prefer to listen to it pouring down while I’m inside somewhere dry, preferably with a hot beverage. But I also like walking in it, hearing the raindrops drum on the hood of my coat, walking around the deepest puddles (and occassionally letting my inner five-year-old out and stomping to make as big a splash as I can).

I love the way the air smells and feels while the rain is coming down hard–different than the after-rain smell, not better, just different.

I love thinking about where these raindrops have been. Evaporated from the warm ocean surface, carried thousands of miles aloft on the jet stream, and now returning to earth. Where they will soak into the ground, some to be taken up by the grass and and evergreens, others to form creeks that flow into rivers and one day return to the ocean. They may then descend to the deepest trenches of the ocean, eventually encountering a steam vent or a submerged lava flow, which gives them the energy to start ascending toward the surface, again.

So, don’t complain about the rain. Go out there, say hello, and wish it well on this next cycle of it’s incredible journey.

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