Why We Stay, Despite the Rain
written by Gina Cohen | illustration by Brooke Miracle
I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest nearly all my life, but this past winter’s weather had me checking my real estate app daily for housing options in warmer climates. Phoenix might be a nice place to live. Sunny San Diego? A bit too expensive. Austin’s a fun, progressive city, and I’ve got friends in Texas … decisions, decisions.
My eyes widened as the reality of an umbrella-free life set in—I could afford a house with a pool! I’d pay less for a mortgage and live in the sunshine! Day after day, as the rain came down with no sign of ending, I dreamed of my new resort life—of neighbors joining me for backyard pool parties, of waking up to the sun pouring in through the windows instead of that typical haze of grey. And yet … I decided to stay.
Yes, we had a terrible winter. I live in Snoqualmie, where we had our fair share of snow this past season, including one day where my son and I were stranded in Issaquah when the snow fell so massively and without warning that the parkway to our home closed due to the number of spun-out cars. And the rain … so much rain. I read somewhere that there were only three sunny, warm days between October and March. Crazy.
I have a job that would allow me to live wherever I want. I’m a solo parent, with no custody ties to keep me here. My parents split their time between here, Phoenix and Maui. My sister’s family lives in Palm Springs. I could go anywhere. The cost of living in the Seattle area is high, and with all of life’s financial burden resting squarely on my shoulders, this weighs on me.
But then one day in the middle of March, the sun appeared. I took a walk with my dogs and my son, and there were people out and about, happy and smiling. The sun felt like a salve on my face, brightening my skin and my spirit.
It served to remind me that the rain one day would lift. And as winter turns to spring, and spring turns to summer, the sunny days make up for the dreary ones. There’s no prettier city when it’s warm outside than Seattle. Making a move would mean leaving behind those impromptu trips to Rattlesnake Lake to cool off in the water in my favorite “away-from-it-all” space. No more trips to Lake Chelan with friends, lazing by the pool or laughing on inflatables in the lake. The very idea of rooting on my beloved Seahawks from another city just felt wrong.
I also feel the draw of my village—my friends, my neighbors, the community I’ve built around me, despite our city being known for the “Seattle freeze.” My local friends are my family—we’ve had Thanksgivings together, we’ve traveled together. Strength of community, day-trip experiences, city beauty—these aren’t included on real estate MLS listings. These are the intangibles that make a city home. And Seattle is mine.
In this city we love, and in the bigger picture of life, it takes the rainy season to make you appreciate the sun. I’ve deleted my real estate app to make space for more photos of what promises to be yet another beautiful Seattle summer. See you at the lake. ~~~