Evidently the lawmakers at the State Legislature have had it with the weather.
Me, and probably you, too.
House Bill 1298 would “implement the recommendations of the sunshine committee.”
It’s about time.
“Heavy rain, heavy mountain snow and gusty winds,” is the forecast.
Kids are synonymous with puddles and raindrops, blue rubber boots with green frog designs and yellow rain jackets with hoods not up – all of which beg for a leap-flying, pigtails-scattering, peals-of-laughter-the-air-splitting, water-and-mud-splattering (them and us and the camera lens) kersploosh.
It’s a beautiful thing.
But yesterday we had a boat sink in the marina. The boat didn’t leak. The sky did. It’s been doing that a lot lately.
Though we try to pump boats sometimes two, even three times a day in weather like we’ve been having, we lost this one. Fortunately it was snuggly tied bow and stern and simply rolled over. No gas or oil leaks. Raising a boat however was not on the day’s schedule.
It wasn’t the first time.
More on that in a moment.
How much of that golden orb in the sky – the one that warms the heart, dries out the basement, and makes the flowers grow – have we seen lately?
In sloshing through sites for an answer, my search led me to WSDOT’s weather link where there is to be found information on earthquakes, landslides, volcanoes and tsunamis. Sunshine wasn’t listed.
Then there’s what’s called the “Annual Washington Rainfall, Severe Weather and Climate Data” and, believe it or not, there’s an ad there for “How to Sing – Really Sing.”
I wonder if this is where Gene Kelly – splashing through puddles in a rainstorm of “Singin’ in the Rain” fame – got his start, answering this ad.
Next I typed in “How much rain has fallen?”
Here’s their answer:
“How much rain has fallen will ultimately depend upon your location. The average rainfall differentiates from state to state. Some states will see more rain than others, especially Washington State.”
Really? Singled out for rain are we?
“If you can see Mt. Rainer,” my dad used to say, “it’s gonna rain. If you can’t see it, it’s raining already.”
Can’t we be known for something other than the umbrella?
So I researched the umbrella. And here, ladies and gentleman (could I get a pitter-patter-of-rain-drops drum roll?) we have our claim to fame.
No matter which culture and country claims the climate most conducive to having created the umbrella (Washington surely a front-runner according to the aforementioned website) one characteristic connects them all: Umbrellas conveyed honor.
In the Middle East, umbrellas were “reserved exclusively for the monarch (who was bald), and (were) never carried over any other person.”
In Egypt, umbrellas were a mark of distinction.
In Greece, “the parasol was an indispensable adjunct to a lady of fashion.”
In Rome, to be chosen “among maid-servants to bear it over their mistresses was a post of honor.”
In China, “the tradition is that it originated in standards and banners waving in the air, hence the use of the umbrella was often linked to high-ranking” chiefs and dignitaries.
In Siam, “the umbrella was granted to only some of the subjects of the king.”
The Aztec Empire used an umbrella as “an identifying marker that is the equivalent of a modern flag, carried by the army general.
“And the popes have traditionally bestowed the use of the umbraculum as a mark of honor upon specific persons and places.”
Only in relatively recent history did the umbrella become commonplace.
But, with an invention of the “Pileus, The Internet Umbrella,” the once proud status symbol of the aristocracy may once again achieve its original intent, if not design.
“The Pileus,” according to its promotion, “is an umbrella connected to the Internet to make walking in rainy days fun. Pileus has a large screen on the top surface, a built-in camera, a motion sensor, GPS, and a digital compass. The current prototype has two main functions: photo-sharing and 3D map navigation.”
The Pileus not only screens from the rain, it is in fact a literal silver screen conveying images of your location and connecting you, visually, to the world.
There’s literally a silver lining then in them there clouds.
So look up Washington.
Just don’t look down.
“Wasn’t there a boat here?”
I didn’t have – and given the likely price tag won’t any time soon – a Pileus that may have – given its alleged GPS compass and 3D map navigation capability – helped me answer that question.
We were standing on the dock pondering the empty moorage space. It was another storm, another time, the aftermath of a rare rain-having-gone-sideways nor’easter. Not on the macro-scale that afflicts the north Atlantic seaboard but bad enough.
Maybe the winter storm had snapped the lines and the boat had taken off on its own. It’s happened. The wild weather we’ve had can wreak havoc that way.
One day while away at the doctor’s office for the wife’s appointment for example, my cell phone rang repeatedly with calls from lake-dwellers of a huge dock that had broken its moorings and was bearing down at ramming speed.
Not that there was anything I could do about it.
I could chart the runaway dock’s progress by who was calling next.
A local tsunami was terrorizing the highly-taxed (property and nerves) and troubled residents watching the waves tear at their own rock-and-rolling floats to which were tied – for the moment – everything from ski boats to pontoon boats to jet skis.
The recalcitrant monster dock, having literally cast restraints to the screeching winds all while intimidating and frightening all it passed by – threatening to blast one or more Bayliners to the bottom – reluctantly, compliantly and finally nestled in between two properties, beaching itself until retrieved and returned to wherever it’d come from, it’s run for freedom curtailed.
Until next time.
“Given the direction of the wind, it’s probably banging around up north somewhere,” I responded to the ‘wasn’t-there-a-boat-here’ question.
We didn’t have far to look for the wayward craft.
Where the bow line should have been was simply a rope trailing down into the dark depths. With the intent to coil the remnant on the dock until we headed out to search the lake I grasped the missing boat’s tether near the cleat.
It didn’t budge.
And there was the answer to how much did it rain.
I had found the boat.