Monday, May 30, 2011

Rains of May

Portland is gearing up for Rose Festival, the annual city-wide celebration. The Royal Court has been selected, the carnival has been erected along the waterfront, and eager treasure hunters are testing their wits as they search for the medallion. There's just one problem; roses aren't blooming because it's been too wet this year.

Portland is used to rain, and is even known for it. Iron statues decorating downtown sidewalks have been sculpted with umbrellas in their hands, raincoats are sold year 'round, and locals know it traditionally rains on the day of the Rose Parade. Yet by the end of a typical May, Portland has enjoyed at least a few weeks of dry and sunny 70°+ weather. This May, we've only had eight days without rain, and only half of those have seen clear blue skies and seasonally warm temperatures.

By now, meals should have been grilled on the back patio, produce should've been purchased from Farmers' Markets, and sunny days should've bee spent roaming city streets, with a cup of coffee in hand, shopping and watching chess hustlers pluck their pigeons in Pioneer Square. None of this has been done yet, at least by me, simply because gray skies and rain have chosen to dominate Portland's existence at this point in time.

Some have looked at the cloud laden skies and seen proof of man made climate change. Others point to they grayish back purveyors of precipitation and see a sign of an ending foretold of long ago. While I've briefly entertained both these explanations, I can't say I've embraced either theory with abandon. For all I know, this happens every 10,000 years, or so.

I will admit the gloom and sogginess carry with them a few positives. I can sit by my window and read a book as rain pats against the glass, which is a luxury typically reserved for autumn and winter. Plus, being trapped indoors gives me more time to write.

Yet, even though my time at the keyboard has increased, the quality of the work suffers. Being out among people inspires and fuels my writing in a way no book can. Just watching people, other than those in my immediate circle, interact with one another on the train, or a mall bench, helps supply me with clothing ideas and dialogue for a variety of characters.

Until this weather lets up, I'll be cut off from my academy of creativity and muse, soups and casseroles must still stand in for the grilled meats of summer, and the produce and cheeses of the outdoor markets will simply need to patiently wait for me to purchase them.

Finally, let's end with a poem, I wrote today, simply called Rains of May.

Gray clouds mask the traditional blue of spring,
Sending icy droplets pounding down on a soggy reality,
And force pedals to remain huddled for warmth.
Muddy diamonds sit abandoned,
As droplets splash up from their padded corners.
Children’s noses remain pressed against panes of glass,
Waiting for a few hours of liberty,
From a prison of water and wind and muck.

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