Seattle in wintertime is a straight up bummer, but it’s not because of the rain. Today, twilight crept along at 3:45, when I went to the drug store, and night fell shortly after I got back at 4:15. As I’m writing, it’s 5:30, and the city is dark as midnight.


It really doesn’t rain all that much in these parts. On average, Seattle gets less rainfall by volume than New York, and has seventeen fewer days of precipitation. In fact, Seattle has just about the same number of rainy days as the United States as a whole. Fewer, actually.

Seattle winters are extraordinarily mild, weather-wise. They are way better than snowy Northeast or Midwest winters. I lived in Maine for a few years, and this is much better.


The real problem here is the darkness. The day I’m writing this—November 26—the sun was up for not even nine hours. This will continue to get worse, and stay bad for quite a while. The shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere is the Winter Solstice. On the day of 2018’s Winter Solstice, December 21, there will be just about eight hours of “sunlight.”

I say “sunlight” because I didn’t actually see the sun today. It actually was rainy all day, with dense, dark clouds. No rays of light came through.  That’s very common. Seattle has about 150 sunny days on average, or about forty percent of the year.

If you live in Seattle for a year, you will not see the sun on three out of five days of that year. 

You might not see the sun for weeks, because it will still be rising when you get to work, and it will be set by the time you get to go home. With clouds—which are always here, whether it’s raining or not—you will not know the sun for days at a time, weeks. It becomes a fable, stolen from you, something to hold against Nature or God and definitely your boss—if you have a long commute and work indoors during business hours, you better hope none of those precious clear days come in November, December, or January.

This time of year, I wake up and go to sleep wondering if I ever woke up at all. Whatever lies between dreams and waking becomes permeable. I dream about spreadsheets and cleaning the shower and work about a beach I’ll never visit, though I did last year. (Or was it the year before?) Each time I walk to the bus stop the trip is mimeographed, identical in the sky and the plants and buildings and the bus itself, except for whatever clothes I’m wearing, or a bad hair day, or a fresh piece of trash pushed somewhere else on the ground by wind or crows.

Anyway, it doesn’t really rain all that much here. Umbrellas are for chumps.