We are the best

February 18, 2014

By Jane Garrison

Not only do we Western Washingtonians have the best football team in the country, but we have many great Olympians as well.

It bowls me over to hear about our Northwest contribution to the rest of the country, not just in sports but also in health care, technology and aeronautics. Our unemployment isn’t too high, and our economy seems to be bubbling along. On top of that, to the chagrin of everybody else, we just happen to have the best climate in the continental United States. Shh! It’s a secret. Everybody else thinks it rains all the time, so let’s keep it that way.

Drought, blizzards, record cold temperatures and wildfires are all happening somewhere else. And now, to widen the gap between lucky and not so, we spoiled, gleeful local folks are getting a snowpack in the mountains. The skiers and snowboarders will be thrilled, and so will the gardeners and farmers. It’s perfect here, kind of like Camelot.

When it comes to climate change, we shouldn’t get too smug, however, because unpredictability is one of its traits. When Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, scientists said extreme events would not be increasing in number, only in intensity. But when the blizzards and ice storms started rolling across the eastern United States, one after another, they said extreme events would be occurring more often. It seems they really don’t know. And that tells me we need to take the “good” when we can get it — like right now.

When I look outside, I see our narcissus and tulips popping out of the ground. Our sarcococca by the front door is blooming and smells terrific. The winter heath is in full bloom. The tough, little primroses brightly shine against the dull, brown background of leaves and muddy soil. The old fashioned Flowering Plum, Star Magnolia and Forsythia all have big fat buds and give us a taste of spring fever, while we hear about ice storms and disasters elsewhere.

We know it’s not good to be absolutely perfect, and we are not. A couple of hard frosts this winter reminded me of why I don’t have palm trees in my yard. But the good news is that those cold temperatures will reduce our aphid and flea populations next summer.

Right now, we can feel pretty lucky. We just have to convince the Mariners to get on board, and if we can get the Hawks to do it again, we will be just impossible to live with. That’s OK. It’s great to be out here, where the rest of the country doesn’t know we exist. Let’s forget the guilt trip and take all the good stuff we can get.

 

Jane Garrison is a local landscape architect and planner who gardens in glacial till on the plateau.

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