Our Endless Summer
I call the place I live the damp coast for a reason. It rains. A lot.
Winter is wet, Spring is wet. June is wet. We like to call it June-uary.
Normally our summers start in July, if we’re lucky. August can be dodgy; September and October are cool but usually lovely. I remember one November where it rained for 20 days solid.
But this year the sun started shining in April. And it hasn’t stopped since.
Something has changed. This year we are having an endless summer.
Don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled when the sun arrived making it an unseasonably warm April. Gardening season started early, plants were in the ground a full 3 weeks before the usual Victoria Day weekend.
June was a revelation! The weather was so warm and sunny that I actually had local strawberries for my birthday. I can’t remember the last time I had such delicious, red, juicy, sweet local strawberries. Plus they arrived a full 2 weeks ahead of schedule.
So I had to water my vegetable patch every night, not such a big deal. So my grass got brown, not a big thing.
Angst Sets In
But come the beginning of July, I started getting nervous. It was warm, almost too warm and sunny.
We had a few small rain showers, lasting maybe an hour or 2. Not nearly enough to soak through even 1 inch of soil.
Where there’s Sun, there’s fire
Wildfires were raging round the province. For almost a week, the damp coast was covered in a haze of smoke.
You could smell it in the air. The smoke made the sun dark red in the morning and red at sunset. It was creepy, kinda like the
walking dead scenario. A little too apocalyptic for my liking.
My grass was no longer just brown, it was crispy. I started to worry that some joker with a cigarette would toss it and we’d have a wild-fire of our own.
I started to worry – were we heading into a prolonged drought? Would it go on indefinitely? Would we end up like California with empty water reservoirs? Would we make it to water restrictions level 2 meaning we couldn’t even water our vegetables? How much sunscreen do I have to apply so I don’t get tanned?
I wasn’t the only one thinking this way.
Not the only one
A Vancouver Sun reporter, Pete McMartin, wrote an article describing the prolonged lovely weather.
Pete seemed to be reading my thoughts about the seemingly endless summer. He noted that with so many glorious sunny days, we damp coasters were all getting a bit blasé about it.
Commuters were behaving pleasantly enough but he could sense a slight fear in them. He sensed that while we were enjoying this weather, collectively we could all sense that something wasn’t right. This wasn’t our “normal” summer. Or was it? The fear of a California type drought was perhaps becoming a reality.
The Harrison Effect
Yet I knew the rains would come.
My holidays were coming up, 3rd week of July, and I was going to Harrison. I’ve been going to Harrison since I was 8 or so and every time I’ve been there, it rains. Granted when you go in the spring or fall, odds of rain improve. But we’ve also gone in the summer and still it rains. It will be sunny and warm the week before and after, but the week I’m there, it rains.
So with the historical evidence at hand, I joked with Agent B, another avid gardener. “Don’t fret. Starting July 21st, the rains will come,” I say matter-of-factly. “Oh, don’t be so negative”, she said. “I’m not being negative,” I protested, “It’s just that I have 35 years of empirical evidence which indicates that when I go to Harrison, the odds are very good we’ll have rain.”
The clouds started to gather on the 19th. But then it cleared up. The clouds came back on the 20th. Again, they dissipated. There was no rain and no sign of rain. Could it be the Harrison weather jinx had been defeated? Perhaps this really was the start of a drought?
But on Friday, July 24th, my last day in Harrison, I woke to the sound of rain on the roof. Not some light sprinkle but a good, solid downpour. I breathed a deep sigh of relief. All was right the world. It rained in Harrison while I was there.
And it continued to rain all day, all the way home. The damp coast citizens breathed a sigh of relief.
Our relief was short-lived because two days later, it was sunny and warm again.
The weather forecast shows we’ll have to wait until the second week of august for rain again.
Never will I take the rain for granted again. Now, ask me in November when I’m looking at sheets of rain outside my window if I miss it. Likely the answer will be quite different
On the plus side, my vegetables are certainly not complaining about the sunshine. It has made for an extraordinary growing season. Zucchini anyone?
The Best Zucchini Recipe:
1 bushel zucchini
1 pair of sunglasses
A moderately fast car
Go to a busy parking lot. Drive around until you find an unlocked car. Put the zucchini in the back seat and drive away FAST before you are discovered!