Walking in the rain

Late last fall we began walking every day for exercise. We started by doing laps in the church parking lot. Soon we were walking around the neighborhood and these days we usually walk at least a couple of miles, often in area parks or on trails in our community. We have found several walks where there are few other people and we feel safe. In the winter we often walked around our lunch hour, sometimes walking about a mile to a cafe for lunch, taking a break for lunch and then walking back. As the weather warmed up and the days lengthened, we started walking in the evening. These days we generally walk after supper and we haven’t been in too much of a hurry to get out, knowing that we have time in the evening. Along with the cool of the evening we have enjoyed some nice sunsets.

Last night we visited with our daughter over the computer after we had done the supper dishes and we headed out for our walk a bit late. We’ve gotten pretty good at watching the storms and avoiding getting caught in them, but the rain showers in Rapid City last night were a bit difficult to predict. We couldn’t tell, for a while, which direction they were going. As a result we got caught by the rain before we got back to our car. It wasn’t the driving rain of a huge thundershower that we can get around here - at least not before we finished our walk. We got a little wet, but the evening was warm and we were not uncomfortable. Although there was a bit of rain on the walkways, puddles had not yet began to form by the time we were in the car.

Then the rain really began to fall. Those who live in South Dakota know the routine. It is dark because of the clouds and the rain falls so hard that you have the windshield wipers going as fast as they will go and you are straining a bit to see the lines on the road as you drive. You slow down because it is possible to hydroplane in some of the deeper puddles that quickly form. I backed the car into the driveway to make for the shortest run into the house and we sat inside listening to the rain on the roof as it turned to tiny hail and back to rain before the storm passed.

I commented to Susan as we were walking, before the rain began to fall really hard, that this was a different kind of rain than we will be walking in once we move to the Pacific northwest. We are planning a move to a different climactic zone than anyplace we’ve ever lived. We’ve visited the region a lot over the years and one of my jokes about those who live in Seattle or Portland is that they don’t seem to know that it is raining. I’ve walked down a Portland street with my umbrella keeping my head dry and noticed that I’m the only one with an umbrella. It wasn’t raining hard enough for the locals to feel the need to put theirs up. The locals learn to wear jackets that shed water in their everyday life. We often don’t feel the need for a raincoat at all around here.

In terms of annual rainfall, we are not moving to the wettest part of Washington. The average rainfall in Mount Vernon, Washington is about double that of Rapid City. Our son and his family used to live in Olympia, where it is nearly double that of Mount Vernon. Washington, however, is a very diverse state when it comes to rainfall. There are places in Central and Eastern Washington where the annual rainfall is half that of Rapid City. Mount Vernon, however, is on the edge of what is called the temperate rainforest. That means our grandkids can find pacific tree frogs in their yard. They also have slugs. We don’t see any slugs in our yard. Things will be different for us.

Many years ago, I was chaperoning a group of teens from Idaho and Oregon at a national church meeting in Texas. One evening there was a giant thunderstorm. I had trouble getting the youth to stay in a sheltered area to watch the storm. They were fascinated by the gigantic thunder clouds, the nearby lighting strikes, and the intensity of the storm. Having lived in the midwest, none of that weather was a surprise to me and I understood the danger of the storm and didn’t need to be outside to experience the rain. I was surprised that the storm held such fascination for the young people. I’m thinking that a real spring blizzard might be quite an experience for those same youth.

We, however, are not youth any more. And we have traveled quite a bit. We’ve seen how the skies can open up and dump inches and inches of rain during the wet season in Costa Rica. We’ve been to the dry outback in Australia. We’ve experienced temperate rainforest both in the Pacific Northwest and in Japan. And we’ve gotten wet walking in the rain a few times. Another of my joke lines is that we’ve tested ourselves and found out that we are waterproof. Getting wet doesn’t make us melt or wilt. And although it can be uncomfortable to be caught out in the rain without proper gear, it isn’t life threatening in the way that getting caught ill prepared in a blizzard or sub zero temperatures can become. Every place has its unique challenges in terms of weather and people are remarkably able to adjust to many different types of weather.

We will adapt to the weather in our new home once we have made the move. We may even invest in some different gear for walking in the rain. If we are going to keep up our routine, we will need to be willing to do so on some days.

Copyright (c) 2020 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!