Monday musings

Upon moving to the Pacific Northwest almost 24 years ago, I heard all the regional cliches about the weather. I embraced them as part of my new life in this beautiful part of the world, first in Seattle and, with another move nine years later, in Bellingham. One popular riddle worried me, though. Friends and co-workers delighted in posing this to me as a recent transplant:

Question – “What’s Monday in the Pacific Northwest?”

Answer – “A sunny day right after two cold, rainy ones.”


As fate would have it, that was my experience during my first year, even in spring and summer. At least, that’s how it’s etched in memory. I haven’t gone back to the farmer’s almanac for confirmation, and several years of rainy spring and summer weekends have undoubtedly morphed in my mind. But I’d moved from sunny Austin, and it took a few complete cycles of the seasons for my whole being to adjust to this climate, to accept that I shouldn’t actually count on sunny days until July and should repeal those expectations by the end of September. (Yet another regional truism: we enjoy the world’s most beautiful summers, but they don’t typically stick around until after Independence Day weekend, right?)

That’s why I am still marveling that we’ve been blessed by three — count ‘em! — three warm, sunny April weekends in a row. And I dare write that the forecast is similar for this coming weekend. It’s been especially sweet for the Bellingham farmer’s market, which opened on April 7. The Saturday scene at the Market Depot is always a treasure, but it’s something truly special on a balmy day when everyone seems to bask in all the hope and promise of spring. There’s a happy, healthy energy all around. It’s so Whatcom County; it always makes me feel good about where we live.

Do I sound sappy? Perhaps. A little daft? Maybe. But after a long, cold, dark and wet winter, how can we not feel grateful and optimistic at the sight of fresh pea shoots? At colorful daffodils and tulips made even brighter by the warm rays? At shelves of veggie starts just begging to spread their roots in the warming soil? This recent Saturday I became positively giddy when I spotted the season’s first asparagus at the market: slender green spears with purplish tinged tips, bundled together by the familiar yellow band that reads “Whatcom Fresh.” Thank you, Broad Leaf Farm.

Today is Monday in the Pacific Northwest — a sunny day, yes, but it comes after two equally gorgeous ones. So much for cliches and popular riddles. I can’t wait to start my container garden on the deck and enrich the garden beds with the compost from our worm bin. But I’m even more eager to turn all the wonderful produce from the farmer’s market into meals for family and friends this week. I’ll be sharing a few on my Recipes page in the next few days, and invite you to do the same. Happy spring!

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