Sunday, May 08, 2011

Rain strobe

Cherry blossoms on top of Tabor
Living this close to the Pacific Ocean, here in this land of temperate rainforests and plush, green valleys (a lot like valleys in Ireland, by the way) one learns never to trust a spring day.

Pacifica rules all the earth between here and Tokyo, and Zeus' Queen Hera had nothing on that one for raging, full-blown bitchery.  Today, her restless, indomitable will shed a strobe --sun, rain, sun, rain --upon the city.  When I went out to walk, I took the jacket with the hood.

West side Portland, behind the rain curtain
At the reservoir, I paused to have a look across toward the West Hills.  A rainy partition, a gauzy haze of drizzle, divided the city roughly along the river.  West Side was getting wet.

It was easy to imagine the rain curtain to be the smoke of combat, and I, standing on Tabor's west slope, some general or staff officer watching a battle unfold.  A jogger had paused beside me to watch.  "It'll be here in five minutes," he said, grinning.  "Yep," I said.

Similar words surely passed between Harold and his housecarls as they watched the Normans advancing on their Anglo-Saxon shield wall. 

As it turned out we were wrong. The rain wavered and fell away northward.  The sun grew prideful and scattered the clouds like truant children.

Up on top, the birds of Tabor --chick-a-dee, jay, warbler, thrush --performed a mad, frantic symphony.  In their rests, echoes of human music drifted up from the city.  Auditory fragments of a Cinco de Mayo celebration on Hawthorne.

"What's all the fuss about Cinco de Mayo?" a middle-aged woman nearby asked.  Well-kempt and alert, she seemed pleasant enough.  "Cinco de Mayo is taking over, if you ask me," she said.  She was from Chicago.  She and her husband were in Portland visiting their son.  He was a young man, not yet jaded.  He shrugged.  "What else do we have going on in early May?"  She cast a sharp look at him, but said nothing.  Her husband raised his eyebrows, then brightened and chimed in, "It's another excuse to have a party." 

Hawthorne Boulevard:  Home, sweet home
Walking back down toward Hawthorne, jacket tied around my waist now that the day had grown warm, I was grateful to this City of Roses for having taken me into its arms and kept me for these 23 years.  Happy and grateful.  And I wished I wasn't so mean sometimes.

No comments: