We did not see the sun much the first two weeks of October. Every day looked much like the day before, with a layer of gray cloud covering Portland and varying levels of moisture falling from the sky. We were all too happy to escape the gloom and fly back east to be a part of the North Carolina Outward Bound School’s 50th Anniversary celebration. We awoke from our red-eye flight to a fall day in the Southern Appalachians, one of the best places to be in the world. The sun was bright, the days warm, and the evenings comfortably cool. It was what I expect October weather to be, and it is the kind of weather that has too often lulled me into not taking full advantage of all it has to offer.
We boarded our flight back to the Northwest dreading the cloudy skies and chilly winds we feared were awaiting us there. When we arrived, what we found instead were clear views of Mount Hood and Mount Saint Helens and pleasant temperatures. It was a mid-fall gift, and we decided we must take full advantage of it.
- Wednesday: Go for a hike at Mount Hood
- Thursday: bike around the riverfront downtown and take the aerial tram for great views of the city and surrounding mountains
- Friday: Drive to the coast to walk and talk on the beach all day
- Saturday: Go for a nice long run around town
- Sunday-Tuesday: head up to Mount Rainer to hike in the woods, sit by a campfire, and enjoy stunning views of the Northwest from the flanks of the mountain
It was one of the best weeks we’ve had in a long time. Every morning, we would wake up, see that the weather was still going to be good, and we would pick an adventure and get out of the house as soon as possible. It was obvious during the week that many other people were doing the same as we were: taking advantage of the weather window and seizing the day.
The week made me think about all the good weather days I’ve had in my lifetime back in the Southeast, of how many adventures I could have had, but didn’t because in my mind there was always tomorrow, when the weather was still probably going to be good. Experiencing fall in the Northwest has taught me to take advantage of those bits of time when the sun breaks through the clouds, or at least when the rain stops falling, to get out there and do something.
I hope I remember this the next time I live in a place where the sun shines more days than not. But more importantly, I hope I can remember that it’s not about the weather anyway. Come rain or shine, it’s up to me to seize the day.