Storms Ahead

By Erika Nelson

I wouldn’t say I hate the rain … but it’s not my favorite natural phenomenon, either. The dismal grey skies and absence of natural light. Soaked clothes and muddy shoes. Umbrellas dripping all over the carpet. Humidity that turns an hour’s effort with the straightening iron into a frizzy, unkempt mess. The ever-present risk of hydroplaning — I totaled my Ford Focus by hydroplaning on Hwy 84 a couple years ago, and have had a personal vendetta against the rain ever since.

I concede that the rain has some positive qualities — it sustains all life on earth, after all. I guess that’s kind of a big deal, right? Not to mention that nice “before the rain” smell. And it’s not like there aren’t enjoyable moments sometimes: I possess the long legs necessary to leap across puddles, which ignites a flicker of childlike joy in my cold heart. Snuggling up inside with a good book and a warm blanket while it’s pouring outside is one of the best ways to spend a lazy weekend. Yet these “snuggle inside” days often backfire by making you not want to emerge from your blanket at all. Even though it sustains all of earth’s life, the rain has a tendency to suck the life out of me. 

Why did she move to a city FAMOUS for its rain?! you might ask. Well, I had two main requirements when I chose a transfer school: be in Oregon (so I could take advantage of that sweet, sweet in-state tuition), and in a metropolitan area. After graduation, I suppose I could move somewhere more mild and dry. But I don’t want to leave … and not just because I like not having to pay sales tax. I fell in love with an Oregon native; a man as comfortable driving in a deluge as he is on a dry summer’s day. He’s practically amphibious. 

Maybe I just need to let the rain win — “win” in the sense that I learn to love it. I could cultivate an interest in meteorology; monitor the weather app and make bar graphs comparing expected inches of rainfall to actual inches of rainfall!! On second thought, maybe that’s a bit much. Learning to tolerate the rain is a much more realistic goal; accepting Portland’s default climate as just part of life. I can adapt instead of complain. I could purchase an actual waterproof coat, so I don’t get soaked every time I step outside. Maybe pull my light therapy lamp out of storage and actually use it (maybe the thing works, maybe it doesn’t … but damn if it doesn’t cheer up the room.) Perhaps with time I, too, can become an amphibious Pacific Northwester … or at the very least, remember a plastic bag to hold my dripping umbrella when I go indoors.  

Winter is Here

Noowong_Headshot By Anchitta Noowong

Winter is coming, winter is here. Are you feeling sad this winter? You’re not alone. Being born and raised in a hot tropical country, it was difficult for me to live in a place where it’s cold and dark half the year. I remember my first Portland winter, and it was brutal. I recalled that it rained all the time, there was no sunlight, and everything was just gross. I remember feeling depressed, sad, tired, and unmotivated. I figured that I couldn’t live like that, so I adapted and found ways that help me get through Pacific Northwest winter.

Looking for more information? Follow these links below:
SAD: https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/seasonal-affective-disorder
Endorphins: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320839.php
PSU SHAC: https://www.pdx.edu/shac/aboutshac

Singin’ in the Rain

I’m sitting in the lobby of the Rec Center watching the rain pour down with a vengeance. People are running through the Urban Plaza in a futile attempt to stay dry. I sigh and go back to studying. It’s only 4 o’clock and already so dark. I squint to make out the words on the paper. It’s cold in here, so I slide my bag over and sit up on the window ledge directly on top of the radiator. My eyes are starting to feel heavy, which is absurd given that I’ve had at least three cups of coffee already today. I will myself to focus. I really need to study, but I’m just so sleepy.

Suddenly, I hear the strumming of an acoustic guitar coming from overhead near the street level entrance. I hear someone clear their throat and then: “I wanna make you smile whenever you are sad, carry you around when your arthritis is bad, all I wanna do is grow old with you,” a male voice croons. People start to cheer and sing along. I can’t see what’s happening, but I think someone is probably feeling very surprised right about now. I hear giggling and imagine that the recipient of the serenade is quite red in the face. The singer gains confidence and belts out the last few lines to his sweetheart, “Oh, I could be the man to grow old with you. I wanna grow old with you!” Wild applause and laughter fills the air. I smile to myself and go back to studying feeling a little lighter.