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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Rain (09/07/04)

TITLE: Wet Coast Blues
By Jennifer Levy


Situated on the West Coast of Canada, Vancouver nestles between the expansive waters of the Pacific Ocean and the soaring peaks of the Coast Mountain range. The setting, while breathtakingly beautiful, is also the source of our abundantly moist climate.

Moisture is the overarching social theme in our petite gem of a city. This theme is so prevalent, in fact, that any moisture-free period in excess of thirty days will grab front page headlines right out of the Prime Minister’s clutches. Moisture determines what you wear, what you do, where you do it and if it’s worth doing at all. As a Vancouverite looks out the window on a moist December morning, she often thinks to herself “How many sick days do I have left this year? Does being sick as a dog that it’s been raining for a week count?” Or perhaps, “There is nothing in the fridge. I should probably go to the store, but that would mean going out there, into the moisture…again.” There are times, during the gloomy days of December, that Vancouverites lose hope of ever seeing the sun again.

The most difficult aspect of all this superfluous moisture, though, is taking the bus. Even if the bus stop is right outside your front door, you will be riding that bus with people who, for reasons known only to themselves, do not care to carry an umbrella. These people will often be kitted out in hooded, water-repellant parkas. As they swing, slick as seals from the handrail, their parkas will do what they are designed to, and all the moisture they have collected will be repelled onto your head, which will then smell of musty parka all day long. Some of these parka-sporting umbrella loathers will also be burdened by large backpacks, as they head to university or possibly mountain climbing (who can guess what needful things these enormous humps on their backs contain). The backpacks, fashioned of the same water-repellant wonder fabric as their bearers’ parkas, will not only repel the moisture they collect onto your unfortunate person, they will wedge you into your seat, sometimes resting on your shoulder, or atop your now sodden head. The backpack’s owner will be completely oblivious to your miserable condition until you give him a poke with your umbrella. He will then scowl at you. You will scowl back through your moisture-matted hair and neither one of you will be spreading any peace, love, or understanding for the remainder of that day.

Quite aside from all this misery, there is one redeeming aspect of Vancouver’s moist environment. Sometime in early spring, while the rest of Canada is heavy with snow, the buds come out on the trees, the snowdrops push up from beneath the drenched soil and the grass glows, lush and green, everywhere you look. Before the unbelieving, rain-dimmed eyes of Vancouver’s web-toed inhabitants, all creation bursts into vibrant life. We put away our water-repellant parkas and our umbrellas (those of us who have the good taste to actually own such a thing) and blink, as the sun returns to our moist and native land. We berate ourselves for complaining so much about the weather. The moisture will be back any minute. We all know it. It will pour a mighty deluge for days on end, causing moss to grow in places one might never imagine moss might grow. Then, it will stop and we’ll forget about it again, when we see our first daffodil.

Member Comments
Member Date
Kenny Paul Clarkson09/13/04

Yep. No rain; no dafadils.

Kenny Paul

PS - What's a Tonkinese cat???
darlene hight09/14/04
You paint a nice picture with your words.
Linda Germain 09/14/04
Beautiful, crisp, clear writing. This is definitely an A+ . If this were a "judging" week, and it was my panel rotation, I can tell you, you would be in my top 10! Please don't stop sharing that obvious gift of expression. It is delightful.
Trish Thompson09/15/04
What a delightful article!

I have a good friend who lives in Vancouver, so this really made me laugh....as she has shared very similar experiences.

Thanks for brightening my day (despite the rain!
Lucian Thompson09/15/04
Jennifer, What a delight to be carried into your world with your words. Very vivid account of a wet bus ride. Glad I don’t take the bus! A beautiful ending!