My mother doesn’t like the sun, she hates summer and when she sun kisses her face she sneezes. She’s lived in Vancouver for over 40 years and until recently hasn’t had to complain too much. The last couple of summers have been doozies though. Buying aloe to put on tomato-red sunburnt skin, lots of forest fires, water shortages and weeks without rainfall. Summers are now all about the sunshine.
Record rain falls in the winter and blazing hot tree-melting sun in the summer. The climate is changing and those who haven’t lived here long enough to recognize it seem to think this is the way it’s always been although it has never been this cut and dry.
Some evenings, when I was growing up in the burbs of Vancouver, my dad, sister and I would put on our boots, grab some brollies and just go for a walk in the rain, didn’t matter if it was February, May or October.
Going camping in early June always meant it would be wet. Having a tough time finding dry wood for kindling, repairing the old tent and listening to the beads of water drip down from the evergreen trees above onto my hat when we’d go for a hike. Always making sure to avoid those slugs the size of bananas that would pepper the rain-soaked trails.
It would rain on Thanksgiving while us kids were across the street at the big Oak tree in Kwantlen Park, raking up leaves then running our bmx bikes through the pile at top speed.
It would always rain on Halloween, everyone needed to outfit their costume with something waterproof or be able to slip a garbage bag over it for the evening.
It would even rain on Christmas.
Then there was snow. I remember snow.
I don’t mean the “snow” Vancouverites are becoming accustomed to: the light dusting/frosting that occurs one morning which ends up closing schools and causing havoc on the roadways. We actually had snow days where you could build a family of snowmen or a snowfort that you could use for over a week while you dodged snowballs coated in ice that your big brother would whip at your head every chance he got. I often felt like Randy in A Christmas Story – you know, wearing your full one-piece snow suit to school all puffed up like a marshmallow man not able to put down your arms or turn your head without turning your entire body.
I don’t want these sunny summer days to go away – I’m enjoying them way too much. I want to soak up as much as I can before the rain comes, before Fall and before Winter. I don’t know if it will pour every day, or if we’ll even get snow this Winter. I don’t know if the crocuses will appear in February then get frosted over in March and wilt.
Over the last couple of years, the snow isn’t as much of a prominent fixture during Winter months but it still gets damn cold. The sun is beginning to dominate the summer but I will always love the rain. It makes the grass green, the forests lush and can put me to sleep at the sound of the first drop. It’s comforting and it’s home, but there’s nothing like sunshine in the summer time.
Vancouverites have paid their dues, trust me. We love rain but the sun stays.