The Pacific Northwest brings a lot of enjoyment to my life for several reasons. Certainly, mountains and water are great physical features to view on a daily basis. When I turn on to the main road to travel anywhere in the region, on a partly sunny day or clearer I can see Mt. Rainier in all its splendor. This peak is like a magnet to even the longest term resident of the area. However, I will no longer be a West Coast person who reduces the Midwest to fly-over land. The Plains states have their own beauty. Though I knew I would enjoy a return to this PNW climate, I forgot the way the air fills my nose and lungs, and how it feels against my skin.
Midwest air is filled with oppression about 40 weeks per year, whether its the humidity that lasts from late May to early October, or the wintry dry air that makes my hands bleed. Life indoors is an important consideration (maybe this is why Midwesterners have such a reputable work ethic). Not to mention the mosquitoes that the cities attempt to keep at bay, but bugs that will terrorize your flesh at any opportunity. When talking about weather with PNW locals, they always wonder how I could stand the winters. No problem, just put on more clothes and keep my hands bathed in hand lotion. New snow on the rolling prairie and its few trees is quite beautiful--like watching a child slumber sweetly. The land takes a sweet nap in the winter.
I love the air here. Though we have our share of smog here, it feels like it is always being brushed clean by the evergreens and rinsed by the rain.