Motivation is difficult to muster when clouds fill the sky and rain soaks the landscape, draining my spirit of adventure. Like a taunting bully with a pea-shooter, rain pings our metal roof, drips from eaves and fills my days with a sadness that seems unbearable, even endless. If there is light at the end of this tunnel, please dear God, let it be in the shade of February.
It’s hard to be inspired when you feel mired. Our driveway is filled with patches of mud and grooves worn by streams of water, which traveled a great distance — through woods and orchards and fields — to spill down our steep embankment to the sea.
This time of year we can use only my 4×4 to leave the house, to find the road. Winter moisture has been particularly unkind to the little Miata, which S babies daily to prevent mold from growing along the canvas lid again. It seems a never-ending battle, but she fights it religiously. (On those rare sunny days, you’ll find her in the drive with a towel bending over a tiny angelic car with wings outspread and lid uplifted.)
SEEK AND YE SHALL FIND (GO ON, GET UP)What I’ve discovered living away here is that beauty is everywhere, but you have to go looking for it — even when you don’t feel like it. While nature often peeks in the window, it never comes to the couch. So, last week after a rare appearance by the sun, I fought my negative, self-pitying attitude, and with S climbed off the couch, into the 4×4 and left the house to seek what nature had to show us.
For the effort, I was reminded that ironically moisture has two sides: a disagreeable side, which dampens spirits and molds convertible rooftops; and a reconstructive side, which lifts daffodils from the soil and feeds majestic waterfalls over rock.
One of the jewels of Orcas Island is Moran State Park, which features — among other countless natural beauties — a number of waterfalls. Lucky for us, one of the best times to see them flowing fully is in winter following a period of significant rainfall.
S and I decided to take a quick hike into Rustic Falls, which is accessible via the Cascade Falls trailhead. The shortest route (always my favorite) begins from a small parking lot off Mount Constitution Road just beyond the Olga cutoff.
With noise and spray, the falls compete for attention with the equally spectacular monster-sized cedars and firs. There we stood — thanks to a gazillion raindrops — just two tiny specks in a forest of giants.
I LOOK AT TODAY’S FORECAST, WHICH PREDICTS COLDER TEMPERATURES BUT EXTENDED PERIODS OF SUNSHINE for the next several days. I’m so weary of gray that I’m resigned to accept the good with the bad – as long as it’s dry, as long as it’s blue. At least the mud is frozen.
Around us we are beginning to see a few signs of spring: a neighbor’s daffodils, deer returning to the slope, fishermen testing the waters. Bit by bit I’m adjusting my attitude, tuning it with sun rays.
I hear they’re getting blizzards across the Midwest today. I’ll take the rain any day.
© 2011 Susan Anderson and “Away here.” Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author is strictly prohibited. Additional photos © Orcas Island Photos.