After an absolutely stunning sunny weekend in Seattle, yesterday we were back to 17 shades of gray and outbursts of rain. It’s easy to become tired, distracted and even discouraged—after all, will summer ever happen? And what about all the changes in education—the increased visibility, cuts in budgets, layoffs, with the constant need to do more with less? Many industries and organizations are facing the same challenges.
So, for the first time, I wrote a poem specifically for this group, on this occasion, and the metaphor is clear: why do we do what we do, when the weather forecast of the future doesn’t look too grand?
Because we believe in it—we know there is good to come. No matter the weather of your specific locale, or your business or industry, cultivate your optimism for the days to come!
Why I Live in this Rainy Place
Because today the Cascades spread out
to the East, and the Olympics, the West,
snow-capped and promising, perfectly
outlined in the morning sky.
Because the ferries make their way back and forth
to Bainbridge and Vashon, no matter the weather.
It’s likely I’ll be stopped still by a blue heron,
my morning walk on Alki Beach, the Space Needle’s
spire rising in the distant skyline.
Because one morning, 6 a.m. flight,
I grab the tired gate agent and say, “Look!”
The rose light illumined Mt. Rainier, magnified
by airport glass, all 14,000 feet just outside on the tarmac.
Because this is the only place I know where people say,
“the mountains are out today!” as if they dissolve
behind the fog and mist, making
a round-trip journey to another locale.
Because they say we have more
sunglasses than any other city.
Because for every mile west to the Hoh Rainforest,
you get another inch of rain until finally, with reverence,
you can walk the moss-covered trails into the magic
air and cedar-filtered light, verdant, pristine, silent.
Because this is the first city I ever loved. After New York,
Atlanta, London, Sydney, Miami, Paris, Chicago, Auckland
and San Francisco, I still delight the plane’s descent
past St. Helen’s, Adams and Rainier. I say to myself
finding my street, this is where I live.
Because I tell Starbucks baristas in faraway towns, I live about
a mile from the mother ship, headquarters,
as if this makes a difference,
as if they’ll treat my coffee with more respect.
Because if it’s true, that we have more than
300 days of gray, then those 65 are perfect
in their possibility, their expansive hope and optimism.
Because we’re okay with the contrast.
Who wants San Diego?
When here, the weather reminds us
that change is indeed inevitable,
and our days to come are filled with sun.