Hello on a cloudy day, one of many out we’ve now had here in my new home, Seattle.
I knew that this cloudy, rainy weather was coming. I remember having cold wet feet all day long in high school, after riding my bike there in the morning darkness. But it’s different to be here now. I want to love living here as much as I did when it was sunny and warm in July, August, and September! Being a bit older and wiser, I’m also aware of the dangers of depression and SAD.
So I recently read Heather McAuliffe‘s helpful book, Beating Seattle’s Grey, and I recommend it to everyone, no matter what cloudy sky you live under. Among the best tips I took away from from it are: 1) water is not the enemy, darkness is the culprit; 2) bright light is good for the mood; 3) decorate with color; 4) go out and get some bright light at lunchtime if possible; and 5) there are actually “rain shadows” in Seattle, created by the small mountain ranges upon which this city sits, and which allow some neighborhoods (Yay, North Admiral is one!) to be less rainy than others. 6) But the most intriguing scientific fact that I read, and which underlies McAuliffe’s advice about getting and using good rain gear, lies in the concept of negative ions. Negative ions are especially numerous in places where air meets water, as in waterfalls and mountain streams, but any body of moving water will do, I imagine. (The Saint Joseph River, back in South Bend, was always a nice place to walk also, even if the effects were less exuberant.)
As Bruce A. Mason notes in an article called “How Negative Ions Produce Positive Vibes”: “It’s time we get back to basics, people! The healing properties of negative ions have been recognized for thousands of years. Different cultures and societies have embraced the power of negative ions for centuries. The ancient Greeks recommended seaside health spas to cure skin diseases, and in the 1800s the English developed seaside resorts to treat the depressed and unwell. So if you’re able to seize the day and find a way to recharge in nature this season, run don’t walk and just do it!”
Ever since I read McAuliffe’s description of all the good done by negative ions, I’ve made it a point to walk along Alki Beach as often as possible when I’m out with Honey Girl. Although the skies are cloudy, the seas are choppy, and the air is brisk, it is still a beautiful experience. Honey Girl likes it too, as you can see from pics of today’s morning walk. (She’s not thrilled about rain and being wet, however.) I hope to make this a daily practice, even in the pouring rain (and possibly without the dog). Just think how many negative ions would be in the air on a day like that!