Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Life in the Tongass

Tongass National ForestBy our newest contributing writer: Anji Gallanos from On Ruby's Hill whom I'll have the pleasure of introducing to you formally next week. You'll pick up a few clues to who she is and where she's from in her post.


I woke up this morning, to an unusually quiet house, and had a realization that brought a sense of relief to my sleepy brain. It is raining. I take a deep breath and a long stretch; the sound of rain hitting my neighbor’s metal roof brings me a great sense of peace this morning. Why is the rain responsible for a sense of relief? Let me explain.

I live in a rain forest. The Tongass rain forest to be exact. The Tongass is a place where the average rainfall is 56” a year. That number may not sound like much but think of it in terms of feet: 4.6 feet to be exact. We get enough rain to immerse my seven year-old in a tub of rain water every year. That number might send you scurrying to find out what your local town’s average rainfall is but what does that 56 inches really mean? Well, it means that it rains a lot. It rains more than Seattle (which gets an average of 36” a year so really, stop complaining Seattle, you’ll need a few more inches each year to match us). It means that our daily existence is typically determined by the weather.

Discussing the weather in, say, Phoenix might mark you as a limited conversationalist--perhaps even boring--but conversations about the weather in Juneau are the norm, a round topic that can open doors to any burgeoning new friendship. Even my fourth grader even talks weather with his friends. Weather discussions take precedence over such topics as new itouch apps, Legos and farts. My second grader doesn’t leave the house without asking if it’s a "rain pants day."

Lately, however, Juneau has had a bit of a problem. We are in the middle of a fabulously sunny spring. Days and days filled with sunshine and warm weather. Dry days filled with springtime buds, lawnmower sounds and chirping birds (okay not chirping birds, cawing loud ravens . . . but you get the point). We’ve been dry.

The sun, when you aren’t used to seeing it, brings about a sort of manic behavior in the pale-skinned, mole-eyed folks we are. All things are put on hold. All normal routine grinds to a halt. All new items on the agenda canceled. Try scheduling a book group, fund raising meeting or coffee date; it's not going to happen. Our phone is silent, there are no emails to answer (locally anyway). All of Juneau is outside.

“Can we get together later Anji?” they say. Or at work: “It’s so sunny we just have to get out. Anji can you stay to answer the phones?”

At home a conversation might go like this: “Honey we can’t paint the hallway this weekend, it’s too sunny."

I also have succumbed to this behavior. Yesterday was sunny, and I found myself instinctively gravitating towards hot dogs on the beach. I hate hot dogs, but when it’s sunny they taste better and I couldn’t possibly stay inside the house. Because number one, staying inside might bring about the "tsk tsk" shuns of my neighbors and number two, when it’s sunny I can see how actually dirty my house is.

Tongass National ForestSo there you have it. It is raining today and because it is raining I am secretly excited. Rain means a friend might want to get together for coffee, my husband will want to paint the hall. I can spend some valuable time in my studio finishing those pieces of jewelry I just haven’t been able to get to. I can write a post for Scribbit and introduce myself.

My name is Anji Gallanos and on rainy days I am a jewelry artist, a mother to two boys, a fantastic wife, a community activist, an avid reader and hopeful traveler. I am excited to write for Scribbit. But on sunny days . . . well . . . you get the idea.

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Peruby said...

Welcome, Anji. Thanks for the information about Juneau. I would have had NO idea that your climate was like that.

Kim said...

Lovely introduction, Anji! I grew up in Southeast, and to this day, rainy weather actually has a soothing effect on my spirit.

Heart2Heart said...

Ah to have some much needed rain, I'd gladly bottle up our overly sunny days and send some your way. Just the thought of the sound of rain sounds comforting to me.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Chrissy said...

I really, really love this! Welcome Anji!

CountessLaurie said...

Hi Anji! Great post. I get nothing done when it's sunny. Unfortunately, when it raining, I want to snuggle with a good book.

Hmmm. This might be why nothing gets done!

dyuane said...

that is a pretty cool picture of a walkway. I couldn't live in that area. I would go crazy.