I recently saw both of the Twilight films, which take place in the town of Forks, Washington, on the Olympic peninsula of the state. To some, the idea of constant wet, gray weather is depressing. To me, it is a great reprieve from having to constantly squint, wear sunglasses, sweat, and worry about premature aging from sun damage on my skin.
But it goes deeper than that. I think I tend to default on the side of dark dramatic aesthetics, and to me, gray skies and wet weather calm and humble me rather than depress me. I find myself much more mentally exhausted by constant sunshine and hot weather. I am not a beach person, and I find that many things look more beautiful in the soft light of overcast skies over the direct, harsh light of clear skies. I also prefer light skinned brunettes to over-tanned people with any color hair. Curiously, I think I look better with a hint of tan, although I rarely have one because I’m paranoid of having problematic skin later in life.
Another positive to cold wet weather is the constant beauty of the surrounding greenery. When I lived in Seattle, I was always amazed by the lush gardens and front yards…not to mention the gigantic canopy trees on some of the main streets. Not that warmer, hotter climates are without their foliage…it’s just a different kind in areas where there is higher (constant) precipitation. I can’t think of many things more depressing than a house or neighborhood devoid of greenery. That’s one reason suburbia will never work for me…too many razed forests and not enough natural sun-blocking infrastructure.
I was thinking about this recently: what cities I could realistically see myself living and flourishing in. So far, my list includes: New York, Seattle, London, and Miami. How is that for a list of places with traditionally crappy weather? I guess Miami has a better meteorological reputation than the others, but in fact it is probably more extreme and unpleasant than the others are. There are torrential downpours in the summer, hot and humid weather for at least 9 of 12 months a year, and a considerable ‘dry’ season when the threat of wildfires is high.
The picture above is from my semester in Bordeaux, FranceÂ in the Spring of 2008. It was definitely cold and wet…