Kitchens and Living Rooms

Once upon a time — and we’re talking some time ago; I was living in Scotland at the time, and this year marks two decades since I moved to the U.S. — I prided myself on enjoying the dour autumns and winters that surrounded me every year.

The seasons would slip from summer into something colder, darker, and more permanently overcast, and I would find myself thinking, finally, this is what I’ve been waiting for for so long. I have a particularly vivid memory of walking along the street where I was born, the leaves all off the trees, turning the branches into some kind of gothic silhouette against a particularly grey, cloud-filled sky, and feeling as if this was the ideal environment for me at that point in my life. There was something beautiful about it, beyond simply whatever adolescent or post-adolescent angst I happened to be living through at that moment.

Even after I moved to the U.S., I found myself enjoying the colder, more overcast weather when it arrived. When I first lived in San Francisco, it was in an apartment that basically straddled the line between the foggy side of the city and the sunny side; if I looked out the living room window, everything was grey, but out the kitchen window, there was sunshine and warmth. I spent a lot of time looking out of the living room window, feeling particularly at home.

With this in mind, of course Portland, Oregon was a fine place to move to. The weather here reminds me of Scotland at many times each year, and it’s arguably one of the reasons why I love the city as much as I do. Each fall arrives and brings with it darkness and a coldness that feels seasonal and appropriate. You know what time of the year it is, based on what’s out the window, no matter when you look.

I mention all of this, of course, because the past week has brought with it more sun than we’ve seen in a long time, and I’ve been surprised by just how much it’s lightened my mood and made things feel more possible by implication. Perhaps this is me aging, or simply a sign that even the most weather curmudgeon of us all needs a little bit of solar power every now and then; either way, there’s something to be said for seeing your shadow after so long of it being a faint blur.

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