For all the non-Oregonians reading, what do you think of when you picture my fair state?
Hats off to those who said “wine,” but I’m guessing at least half of you said “rain.”
(Feel free to insert your own Oregon joke here about how we don’t tan, we rust. Or maybe the one about how our state flower is mildew).
While it’s true spots like Portland and Eugene are supremely soggy, that’s not the case here in the high desert of Central Oregon where it seldom rains. Though Pythagoras and I both grew up in rainy parts of the state, we’ve been on the dry side for 13 years.
That’s just long enough to alter our perception of rain to the point that we briefly considered canceling our hike when we woke Saturday morning to see drizzly conditions. Then we remembered real Oregonians have gills. We scoff at umbrellas. We don’t consider it a true hike unless there’s mud, dammit.
So we set out for a hike around Tumalo Falls. By the time we returned to the car, it looked like we’d both spent the last few hours standing fully clothed beneath the falls.
I posted that picture on Twitter with some silly comment about it looking like I peed my pants in reverse. I didn’t think much of it until an online pal wrote that she was sorry the rain ruined my hike.
That struck me as funny.
Maybe it’s the fact that if Oregonians let rain ruin things, we’d have very little bliss in our lives.
Or maybe it’s that the rain kind of made the hike.
I left my jacket at home, so Pythagoras chivalrously loaned me his. The dog – unaccustomed to soggy soil – kept spinning out and making us laugh. And the smell of the high desert when it rains is the closest thing I can think of to heaven.
I guess I never considered the rain might be a negative.
Admittedly, I’ve always been an optimist. I probably couldn’t have endured such a bumpy journey to publication if that weren’t the case.
Even so, it can be tough to keep a positive attitude when you’re in the trenches gathering rejections or struggling with a book that won’t cooperate. You have it in your mind how things should go, and any deviation from that can send you into a tailspin.
But sometimes what seems like a setback can turn out to be the best thing. There’s no doubt I was crushed years ago when Harlequin/Silhouette canceled the Bombshell line a month before my debut was scheduled for publication, but I look back now and breathe a sigh of relief. That’s not the sort of book I wanted to write in the long-term, but it took a major shakeup to prompt me to realize I should take a different path.
While you probably won’t always feel like dancing for joy when the downpour hits, there’s almost always something to be gained from it.
Are you an optimist, or do setbacks tend to hit you pretty hard? Can you recall anything that’s happened to you that seemed heartbreaking at the time, but turned out to be the best thing for you?
Please share in the comments. I’m still trying to get the rainwater out of my underwear.