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How the Grinch Stole Solstice, Almost

How the Grinch Stole Solstice, Almost
When rose petals resemble wet tissues

Boz the bulldog in tall grassBoz is quick to point out that chest-high grass is no dog’s friend. Rain or no rain, it’s time to mow.

If weather was a game of rock- paper-scissors, I’d have to say clouds trump sun in our neck of the woods, just as paper covers rock. Every year, we await solstice and the arrival of summer like worried parents anticipating the return of a prodigal son sun. Will it show up at all and how long will it stay?

I forgive its extended stay in the southern hemisphere and try to make its brief visit here in the Pacific Northwest as pleasant as possible. But yesterday, the weather Grinch showed up to rain on my solstice parade and dampen everything, including my spirits. I awoke to a steady drizzle and temperatures reserved for late November.

Hours later, under a blue tarp by a steaming and determined fire, I experienced a change of heart. I had munched through my first messy s’more, belted out some tried-and-true campfire songs, shared a dewy blanket with a wet dog and dry Oregonian, and challenged a twelve-year-old to a croquet rematch. “This time no mercy!” (His words.) It was there among the din of drizzle and laughter, that I had my epiphany, no doubt much like the one the Grinch had that fateful Christmas morning on Mt. Crumpit.

How the Grinch Did Not Steal Summer in the Northwest

(With apologies to Dr. Seuss.)

“Pooh-pooh to Northwesterners!” he was grinch-ish-ly humming.
“They’re finding out now that no summer is coming!
“They’re just waking up to a chilly temps. and drizzle!
“Their mouths will hang open, their spirits will fizzle,
“Then they’ll start to cry that this summer won’t sizzle.

“That’s a sound,” grinned the Grinch,
“That I simply must hear!”
So he paused. And the Grinch put a hand to his ear.
And he did hear a sound rising over the rain.
It started in low. Then it started to gain…

But the sound wasn’t sad!
Why, this sound sounded merry!
It couldn’t be so!
But it WAS merry! VERY!

He stared down at Vashon!
The Grinch popped his eyes!
Then he shook!
What he saw was a shocking surprise!

Every islander from Burton to Dockton to Tahlequah,
Was singing and playing! Without sunshine at all!
He HADN’T stopped summer from coming!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!

And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet all wet in a puddle,
Stood puzzled, and shivering and completely befuddled.
It came without brightness! It came without heat!
“It came without sweating and dry grass as your seat!”

And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe summer,” he thought, “can’t be stopped by a downpour.
“Maybe summer…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

And what happened then…?
Well…on Vashon they say
That the Grinch’s barometric pressure
Rose three points that day!

And the minute his forecast didn’t feel quite so right,
He threw in a warm breeze and some late evening light
We raised our keg cups, shared a fine summer toast,
Handed the Grinch a warm blanket,  and a marshmallow to roast

As summer solstice led to a shorter next day
Our hearts were warmed by the laughter and play,
Our foul weather coast is master to none,
So here’s to embracing both the rain and the sun.

Teasing Georgia rose withstanding the latest rain storm.

While a little rain never hurt anyone, it’s the lot of rain that takes it out of you.

blackberries in bloom, June rain

Blackberry Blossoms (like other NW residents) are no strangers to days of drizzle.

What I was blogging about one year ago:


  1. Hey, you’ve got another shot at a sunny solstice, since it doesn’t officially occur until tomorrow (Monday) at 4:30 am, here in the PDT zone. So get up early, look to the east and enjoy the longest day of the year — I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some summer weather and even here in the C. Oregon desert, we have had nothing but rain, wind and frost all spring. Wahhhh.

    • Nanne, those roses are Teasing Georgia, a David Austin rose. So far so good, no blackspot, mildew or rust. (And I don’t spray my roses with anything.) Fragrance is weak, but it my improve as the weather heats up and the bush matures.

  2. Friends of ours are moving back to Seattle and they mentioned to us how cloudy the region could be. We’re looking forward to visiting there some day to see whether or not it would a great place for us to settle. Admittedly, the idea of living on one of the islands is really appealing. I think I would trade our New England winters for your clouds any day. And it doesn’t seem to deter your gardening.

    • Thomas, this has been an exceptionally wet May and June (3X the normal rainfall), but the beauty of the Northwest can leave you speechless. Our climate is quite mild, Zone 8, which makes it a great place to garden. So here’s to your future visit; smitten you will be.

  3. ugh. It’s all down hill from here, isn’t it? If August isn’t nice I’m going to be kicking something or someone and I will then write poems about weather-induced anguish. And they won’t EVEN RHYME.

  4. Thank goodness the sun is peeking out regularly today! Well, at least the rain gives you a little time back by decreasing plant-watering responsibilities.

  5. Loved your version of Suess and the Grinch. The Teasing Georgia rose is amazing. It’s bloomin’ beautiful rain or shine.
    Just finished packing a bunch of fleece for our month up there. We’re happy to trade desert sun for Pacific Northwest rain and the beach!

  6. I know exactly how you feel, dear Tom. Because that’s the way we felt last summer solstice. Sodden. How I wish I’d had your cheery homage to Dr. Seuss then. Oh, well, I’ll never be without it again.

    I wish you abundant sunshine next year.


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