Last weekend was Ethan and my 1 year anniversary and we planned this lovely day to recreate our 2nd date. On our 2nd date, we went to a pumpkin beer festival at a local brewery, ate lunch at another brewery, drove to Sauvie Island to pick pumpkins, picked pumpkins, ate roasted corn, talked for a few hours, then ate dinner at Bartini. It was a long day in which we never tired of each other. I wanted to relive that day again. Then all the news channels were calling for the worst rain storm coming off the coast. They predicted flooding all over the city.
As the day got closer, it didn’t seem to be looking any better. The beer festival, which had magically fallen on the day of our anniversary, was postponed to Oct. 29th. I said to Ethan, “I guess we just can’t recreate our date this year!” I was super bummed. I really wanted to go pumpkin picking, but thought it would be no fun in the rain. Ethan said, “we are going! Rain or shine, we are going!” I looked at him weird. Why would we want to pick pumpkin’s in the rain?
On the radio, the show host said that a lot of families were rushing out to the pumpkin farms on that Thursday before the storm hit. She said, “I’m an Oregonian, it doesn’t matter if it is raining. We always would go out in the mud and rain and get our pumpkins and get all wet and muddy then come home and get warm and drink hot chocolate. That is the Oregon way.” This made me think, how can I let a little rain ruin my anniversary. I’ve lived in Oregon for 6 years and still I haven’t quite adjusted to the wet season. It is like the tropics here, there is a wet season from Oct. to June and a dry season from June to the end of September. Without all this rain, Oregon wouldn’t be quite as majestic. The vibrant green of the Oregon forests is worth it for all the rain.
Oregonian’s have a great attitude about rain. Having grown up on the East Coast, I’m used to rain, but I normally treat it as a reason to stay inside and be lazy. Oregonians get so much rain that one local said to me, “if we let rain stop us, we would never do anything!” I guess when you live somewhere that is rainy all the time, you can’t let it stand in your way. For those of us that are used to four seasons or sunny weather all the time, this is a hard concept to accept. We would rather cancel our picnics than get wet.
Oregonians have an attitude though, that we should adapt into all our lives: just because things aren’t perfect, doesn’t mean you just give up. Rain happens, but you must keep going. For a place that barely gets sun, you have a local population that is more cheery than ever. Unlike people in sunny states, that take the sun for granted and can be grumpy even on a beautiful day, Oregonians are kind-hearted, laid back, and never let rain bother them. They don’t even carry umbrellas here. They know you are an outsider if you carry an umbrella. Rain doesn’t stop their plans. Bikers still bike. Hikers still hike. Their day goes on.
So, Ethan and I didn’t let the rain stop us. We went to Kruger’s Farm on Sauvie Island and trudged through the mud to find the perfect pumpkins. The wind pushed me like a little bully on the school yard, but I pushed back. I wasn’t going to let a little rain and strong winds knock me down. Just before we left the house, our power went out due to two power lines snapping from the strong force of the wind. Now its hands pressed against my chest threatening to snap me in half. It didn’t though. I survived and found several perfect pumpkins.
Ethan and I tried to snap a picture like the one we took a year ago, holding our pumpkins proudly, only this time the wind danced around our faces making it challenging to keep our eyes open and smile. We laughed it off. Life is an adventure and no one ever got anywhere hiding at home. We lugged our heavy pumpkins back to the farm house to be weighed. I attempted to carry two until my biceps began to burn and I made Ethan help me.
We warmed up inside with hot cider and roasted corn and reminisced about our 2nd date where we saw a rainbow in the sunset and talked for hours on the bench while eating our corn. We’ve come a long way since then, even in just a year. When we exited the barn to check out the colorful array of dahlias and towering sunflowers, we looked up to find a rainbow peaking out from the clouds. It reminded us that there are times in life where it’s going to rain, but if you stick it out through the storm you will get to see the rainbow.
Life isn’t always easy or full of bright sunny days. We can’t stop moving forward, just because things aren’t going our way. I used to get so bogged down in my plans. If I plan something, I expect it to happen exactly how I imagined it. Unfortunately, most things don’t follow your plan. Things just happen the way they are meant to, whether you have a plan or not. That’s why they say, “you can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather!” If there is one thing I have learned from living in Oregon and from Oregonians themselves, it is that we can’t let a little rain ruin that picnic. Things may not go according to plan, but you need to adapt and move forward anyway.
Obstacles are a part of life. I have lived with several health issues my entire life, but I have never let them hold me back from living. We learn more from the hardships and road bumps in life than we ever would if everything went according to plan. So don’t give up when it gets hard or cancel your plans when it starts to rain. Adapt. Learn from it. And keep on truckin’, because “when life looks like easy street, there is danger at your door.” I have had a lot of setbacks in life, and if I just gave up and stayed at home, I wouldn’t have accomplished as much as I have.
Take a cue from the Oregonians, who don’t let rain stand in their way. Gear up for whatever is coming your way and keep going. When you learn to accept the challenges in life rather than run from them, you grow as a person and you get a whole lot more out of life. Like Bob Marley said, “Some feel the rain, others just get wet.”
Disclaimer: This is not meant to motivate you to move to Oregon. Oregon is at capacity and the locals don’t want anyone else to move here. Learn to be happy where you live.