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One of the things I love best about our area is what happens during autumn. September usually varies between moderate and rainy, we often slide into the beginnings of our rainy season about mid-to-late month. The trees begin to change color around early September, and you can feel that tang in the air that tells you autumn is just around the corner.

Unlike a number of places that don’t receive as much rain as we do, we don’t always get the crisp reds and burgundies of the changing leaves, especially if the rains come early. More often, our landscape is painted with yellow and golden leaves, turning into a pale brown before billowing off the trees for good with the October and November windstorms. And of course, most of the conifers — our towering furs, massive cedars, and sequoias that we have here—don’t change color at all. Although some of their needles do fall off, matting the forest floor with debris, providing a cushion for mushrooms and moss to grow in.

One thing I absolutely love about our autumns are the mists that rise during the night. There have been nights when I’ve gone out and the mist has been swirling around my ankles, and it surrounds me like a shroud. I often wonder, what kind of monsters lurk the darkness — is that a troll there? Sasquatch over behind that tree? Do vampires really exist, and if they do — this would be the perfect place for them. Is Dracula waiting out there? Or Aegis, from my Bewitching Bedlam Series?

We have spiders galore here, and during mid August, the giant European housespiders come out seeking mates. They’re horny little bastards, I’ll say that for them. They scuttle across the floor with leg spans that spread up to 5 inches wide. I happen to be arachnophobic.  Sam knows when I see one of them racing across the floor because I have a special scream he describes as my “spider scream.”

But they do race — they’re the second fastest spider in the world. We also have giant orb weavers that weave their webs through the garden, usually starting in August. I don’t mind them so much, as long as they stay in their webs, but when they decide to try to span the sidewalk, that’s when I take issue. We always keep a stick at one end of the garage and a stick at the door, so that we can take down webs as we’re walking up the sidewalk to our front door.

We have a lot of Rowan trees here — they’re also known as mountain ash around the west coast — and their brilliant red berries belie the turning of the season. In fact, Sam and I have named our house and land Rowanwood Grove, because we have so many rowan trees. Rowan is sacred to one of the goddesses I follow. I gather some every year for a charm of protection for the house.

September is a transitional month in the Pacific Northwest. Autumn’s definitely on the doorstep, but the last rays of summer haven’t quite decided to give way. We still get temperatures that sometimes rise into the upper 70s, and even a few rare days of low 80s, but mostly we start heading toward the high 50s to mid 60s of October. And the rains start coming in, socking the sky with their armies of gray clouds, drizzling down as they beat a staccato rhythm on the roof.

Yes, I love the landscape of Western Washington. I grew up in eastern Washington where it’s vastly different — hot desert in the summer and icy cold in the winter. Nothing’s green there during the summer, and it’s dusty and dry. But over here, once you cross the Cascade Mountains that divide the state, we live in a temperate wonderland. A mystical world of mist and rain, of ferns that grow high as your waist, of  old-growth cedars and firs dripping with moss. Yes, I love this land. And I really don’t think I’d ever want to live anywhere else.

So tell me, what’s September like in your area? What do you love about your landscape?

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The Mystical Landscape of Western Washington
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9 thoughts on “The Mystical Landscape of Western Washington

  • 09/04/2019 at 7:34 pm
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    Hmmm. How to describe when Fall starts in Central VA ( I live in North Chesterfield County, just outside of the city of Richmond.) That’s a tough one. It seem to change nearly every year. We haven’t been too hot or humid lately, and thankfully only had one 100 degree day back in July. Our Fall starts around mid- October. We get weird weather here because of being between the Appalachian Mountains to the West & the Atlantic to the East. When our leaves change, and how colorful they are depends on how much rain we get. We have trees around our house ( I live in a neighborhood); oak & poplar mostly, though I think we a some birch too. There are pine trees (I believe) across the street. Once the weather finally cools off, it’s great! I’ve grown up here, and I deal with the heat & humidity, if it means we don’t get a great deal of snow in the Winter. We usually don’t thankfully. I don’t know if I would live anywhere else.

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  • 09/04/2019 at 4:06 pm
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    I live just north of San Jose California. We are still having warm temps but the early mornings are starting to cool down. I love October here as I can still comfortably walk without bundling up much. My small town of Newark, though, gets the afternoon breeze/ wind which sometimes can play havoc with my hay fever.

    My daughter and son-in-law live in Lynnwood, WA. Their house is in a cul-de sac so there are many trees. It sometimes feels like I’m in Sequoia National Park with the soothing sounds of nature.

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    • 09/04/2019 at 5:27 pm
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      Yeah, that’s one thing I love about up here–the trees are thick and numerous. Our house is surrounded by massive trees.

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  • 09/04/2019 at 2:35 pm
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    I live outside of Portland, Oregon. And I’m right there with you on all the things you love about the Pacific Northwest! ❤️ the smells change and I love cooler weather and yup, I could go on and on about the beauty out here. That’s what drew me out here. I first came to visit the Seattle when I was 9 years old and knew where I wanted to live for the rest of my life. I never want to leave the Pacific Northwest. It’s always so beautiful out here ❤️. Thank you for sharing!

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    • 09/04/2019 at 5:28 pm
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      I first moved over here from Eastern WA in 1979, and I knew that I never would move away.

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  • 09/04/2019 at 1:47 pm
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    We are just beginning to have cooler temps here in NE Ohio, but I’m still running the a/c. Hope in the next few days I can turn it off. Out peak color for the leaves is usually mid-October. Right now trees still a lush green, but the color is becoming muted. Right now my landscape is one of construction as they renovate the complex where I live, but there is a view of a forested area from my window. Sometimes get to see whitetail deer cross the yard.

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    • 09/04/2019 at 5:28 pm
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      At least you’re near a forested area! 🙂

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  • 09/04/2019 at 10:19 am
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    In Arkansas, it is still summer. Very hot. Temps for the next 2 weeks are predicted to be in the mid to upper 90s. Hopefully in the last 2 weeks of September, it will cool down. The trees do not start to turn until October, as a general rule. We usually get our rainy season in the spring. Not complaining though, I’m not fond of winter.

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    • 09/04/2019 at 5:29 pm
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      I can’t take hot weather–my health can’t handle it. But I’m glad that you live in an area you’re comfortable in. 🙂

      Reply

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