Food & Culture

Editor’s Note: Blinded by the Sun

By Rachel Hart May 10, 2013


This article originally appeared in the May 2013 issue of Seattle Magazine.

When my husband and I first moved here in August 1997, we knew of the seductive powers of the golden month’s glorious glow and warm temperatures. We had been to Seattle before—in the throes of a rainy February, natch—but in relation to the Midwest and East Coast arctic winters from which we came, Seattle winter felt downright tropical.

Yet after living here for a period of time—it didn’t even take that long, probably two winters—we acclimated. Whereas in Wisconsin, the temperature, with the wind chill factor, had to be 70 degrees below zero for it to count as “pretty cold,” anything below 40 degrees in Seattle now has me chilled to the bone and reaching for my overworn black puffy coat and scarf. There is something about the dampness here that makes the cold a little colder and less easy to shake off. (And yes, I am also one of those Seattleites who carries an umbrella.)

Despite the fact that our summers extend into October, they don’t get around to starting up until around the Fourth of July (and even then, as we all know too well from many a soggy firework display, that’s no sure thing).

May and June in Seattle are the ultimate endurance test, sort of like hitting the wall in a marathon—I imagine, if I ever ran one. Only the toughest cross the finish line. Case in point: As I sit to write this, on the third day of spring, we’re having the first snowfall of the winter.

That’s where this issue’s story on “Sunny Getaways” (page 100) comes in. Keep it handy over the next couple of months, when you just can’t take it anymore, for a list of close-to-home sun spots—where it’s practically guaranteed that the sun is shining right now—vetted by our top team of travel writers.

One of the rites of Seattle springing into summer that I’ve been amused by is how, when the sun does start coming out regularly, my kids have a vampiric reaction to it, throwing their arms over their eyes to protect them from the glare. When we’re out for a walk, they seek every spot of shade they can. They are truly Seattle babies. But they will learn to appreciate the sunshine; to crave the warmth of it on their skin. Wait patiently for it. And come up with even more creative names for “sunbreaks.”

Consider this issue your preliminary dose of vitamin D. Just don’t forget the sunscreen.


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