Growing up in B.C., something I never thought I’d hear myself saying is, ‘Thank God for the rain.’
Yet, as I write this on a rainy day, here I am.
Living in Squamish during the summer creates a lot of pressure — pressure which I haven’t felt before.
At any given time when the sun shines, I find myself having panic attacks when I’m not out enjoying the outdoors.
I feel the compulsive need to start climbing repeated laps in the Smoke Bluffs, followed by repeated laps throughout Cheak Canyon, then — you guessed it — more laps around the Grand Wall boulder forest.
Then followed by hiking up and down the Stawamus Chief’s three peaks, then...well you get the idea.
This compulsion is rooted in a typical B.C. childhood full of mostly rainy days.
I’ve learned that having a sunny day is not the norm. It’s something to be treasured and valued.
So when the sun makes the leap and replaces the often rain-filled clouds, I, like many other long-time Lower Mainlanders, have learned to go get what vitamin D you can — while you can.
But with the summers and springs becoming much more sunny and intense, the usual one or two-day stretches of sun we used to get have at times turned to two to three week stretches.
Thanks, climate change!
I’m always compulsively going outside — even if it means I’m neglecting my need to just sometimes take it easy.
“There will be time to sleep when the rain comes, which will probably be in an hour,” I say.
But that time doesn’t come. It no longer comes as frequently as I think it will.
By the seventh day, I’m a haggard, sleepless ghoul.
“Yes, more outdoor activities, please,” I croak through my parched lips. “Who knows when we’ll have more sun again?”
Every time I’ve said that in the last couple years, the reality actually was that we had sun again for a week afterward.
My mind knows this, but my heart doesn’t.
So on the days I feel exhausted and really should just be lying there like a human slug, those horrible Wormtongue-like whispers invade my head whenever I lay on the couch.
“Why aren’t you sending?” the climbing-obsessed voices whisper.
It grows louder, and louder and louder.
Finally, a slave to the compulsion, I tear off my shirt and start doing laps on the kiddie climbs on Electric Avenue.
It’s good when the rain finally arrives. It’s the only thing that can silence these demons.