Gentle weather

My favorite shirt has detachable sleeves which allows me to wear it as a lightweight waistcoat in summer. But today I got to put the sleeves back on.

Usually by the end of July I have “summer fatigue” and reverse-SADS. It’s not just the heat that wears me down. It’s the bright sun and the long hours of daylight. But the record heatwave we went through in Seattle at the end of June obviously added to the stress. So the cloudy drizzly weather I woke up to was most welcome. And it looks like staying that way this afternoon with temps in the low 20s degC.

I moved to Seattle to find a kind of weather that is becoming elusive. It is a weather that is possibly the least harmful to people – but most frequently complained of.

It is gentle weather. Temperatures somewhere between 8-15 deg C with cloudy skies, light winds, and rain that can be kept off with a light rain jacket and hood.

Twenty years ago, this kind of weather could be found in any month of the year in Seattle. But summers are getting hotter, sunnier and drier — and are lasting longer. Meanwhile, autumn, winter and spring rains are showing up as intense deluges that no rain gear is a match for.

I have never understood why my preferred gentle weather goes so unappreciated. It is perfect for running, cycling, hiking and other outdoor activities. It is nice weather for gardening. It is even good weather for washing the car. But it is also nice weather to have when you are stuck inside working, studying, or just curled up on the couch feeling bad.

However, since that big heatwave of June, I have noticed more people saying that they will never again complain about cool, cloudy weather in summer. But I fear that gentle weather is becoming a thing of the past — and will not be fully appreciated until it is gone for ever.

Falling back

I normally welcome the return to Standard Time when the clocks fall back. I think it’s because I’m rather lazy — and the dark evenings give me permission to just chill at home without feeling like I should be outside “doing something”. And I like being able to go to bed early.

But it feels different this year. I got my autism diagnosis back in March at age 57 — and I have been looking at life slightly differently since. This was my first summer knowing what makes me unlike other people — and I think I allowed myself to enjoy summer in my own way. It was also my first summer in over twenty years working from home. I found a nice routine and enjoyed a long after-work walk every evening.

Starting next week, it will be getting dark as I finish my work day. I can still go for a walk, of course, and I’m fortunate in that my neighborhood is safe enough to do so. My route is along a waterfront with lovely views under moonlight. And when the fall storms move in, walking is positively exhilarating — as long as I’m wearing the right gear.

But I’m already starting to miss the golden evenings of the summer. This is certainly going to be a winter like none that has gone before.