The rains have been toying with us for a while, now. Every time a front came through, we would ask ourselves, “Is this the beginning of the rainy season? Is it time to put away the sunglasses and sneakers, and set out the Gore-Tex parkas and mud boots?”

Well, I believe the above 10-day forecast makes it abundantly clear. Winter has arrived. We can look forward to mostly gray weather until spring.

It’s not all bad. When I was in the midwest, I missed the wet weather. Even in the dead of winter, the Pacific Northwest remains green and lush. I grew up on Puget Sound, which has even grayer and wetter winter weather than Portland does.

I guess I have gills. The truth is, too much sun and dry weather can make me cranky. We can go weeks, months even, without a drop of rain during the summer, and there’s nothing like that first rain shower after a long dry spell. I encourage my children to join me on the sere, brown grass, doing our own peculiar rain dance. But we’re not asking for rain, rather we are celebrating its arrival. And I love the smell of rain after a dry spell — it smells clean. And there’s nothing more soothing than listening to the patter of rain through an open window as you drift off to sleep.

There is a kind of rain that occurs here that I have not experienced anywhere else. It looks almost like a heavy fog, or as if you were walking under the world’s largest produce mister. You can’t actually pick out individual droplets, and if you didn’t know any better, you would say it wasn’t even raining. But you only have to be out in it for about 30 seconds to get soaked to the skin. I love that kind of rain. I used to take long walks at night when it was drizzling like that, when the streetlights would create halos of light in the fine droplets hanging in the air. It makes me feel rejuvenated. There was nothing like it in the midwest, and while I lived there I missed it horribly.

Lest I sound like some kind of hydrophilic deviant, let me assure you that by the time spring rolls around, and the clouds roll back for the summer, I will be as thoroughly sick of the rain as everybody else. I will cheer when the grass dries out and I can put my raincoat away until fall. But for now, it’s not unbearable yet. I can appreciate it for what it is - the inevitable backdrop to winter here in the northwest. Cold, miserable, and familiar. And somehow comforting.