“I think Oregonians were subterranean dwellers in another life.”
The confused look on my face must have given it away, as she continued on…
“Well, you all live in that gray, rainy and gloomy state all year. I mean I hear that you guys are so used to the rain you don’t even carry umbrellas! That’s just wrong. No one likes their hair all frizzy, looking like a drowned rat and all. Only cave people can survive the gloom of Oregon.”
“Ah yes…the never ending cloud of gloom that hangs over Oregon 24/7/365. Forget the Bermuda triangle, we are the Rainy Square. Disappearing forever in the warm waters has nothing on looking like a wholly mammoth during the winter” I replied.
Granted there is some truth in that we don’t carry umbrellas here. Those are for the tourists. A good coat with a hood is what Oregonians generally use or we just go without. Drowned rat or wholly mammoth, pick your disheveled animal and we’ll look like it during the winter months. Everyone looks that way so that is the new normal. Perfect hair means you never leave your home and that is a sure fire way to go crazy during the winter. So how do we survive our gray winters here?
1) Coffee shops. Really I think there is a huge correlation between our obsession with coffee and our gray days of the PNW. There is nothing like getting out of the house, grabbing some hot tea or coffee, and chatting with friends at a local cafe. Even if you are new to the area and don’t know anyone in town. Get out of the house and just go read a book at one of the local places.
2) Go hiking. Yep, really. Get some good waterproof boots and gear and hike some of the local trails near the waterfalls. Waterfalls need water (I know a genius observation on my part), and in the winter and spring, when Oregon is at its grayest, the waterfalls are spectacular to see gushing. Go hike the waterfalls and be in awe.
3) Take an overnight trip to the coast and watch the storms come in. The coast is notorious for high winds and rain and there is nothing like watching the coast get blasted and then walking on pristine beach the next morning.
4) Go all Gene Kelly. Get a really good pair of rubber boots and jump in some puddles. You’ll be less embarrassed if you have young kids and it appears that you are just playing with your kids, but there is something totally innocent about stomping in a few puddles. If you break out in song, more power to you. Remember to ditch the umbrella though: those are for tourists.
5) When buying a house, look at natural light. When relocating home buyers move here from a hot state, I’m always suggesting that they consider the natural light of a house. They seem to be the most susceptible to SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and having natural light in the house can minimize that.
6) Light some candles and relax. No I’m not a firebug, but there is something insanely soothing about candelight. Light some candles, take a hot bath and just relax to the sound of the rain outside.
7) No soup for you! Thankfully the soup Nazi isn’t a real person, but Wild Pear and Amadeus in town make great soups. Get out of the house and grab a cup of soup at one of the local restaurants. If you are so inclined make some at home and get some fresh bread at Great Harvest or Cascade Baking Co to serve with it.
I’d go on and on about the things you can do, but I’m leaving that for the comments section. Dear Oregon readers, please write in the comment section at least one thing you do during the winter to deal with the gray days. This would be a nice cheat sheet for relocating home buyers to the Salem area about what to do and to ease their fears.
So…what do you do to deal with the Oregon gray days?