Monday, October 22, 2012

damp days of october

i did not enjoy biking in the rain this morning.  i forgot my gloves, the weather unexpectedly colder than yesterday.  the back light on my bicycle has disappeared.  my breaks need to be replaced.  i wouldn’t describe the rain this morning as hard, but steady and persistent would be excellent adjectives.  the morning dark, i had forgotten that in the winter i wake for work with night still hanging over the city.

friday, however, i revelled in the rainy pedal home from work, when i left the office: high hopes, high spirits, excited about my plans for the weekend.  the rain seemed light as i began biking north from john’s landing.  the weather seemed pleasant despite the chill of the showers.  the frequency of the raindrops increased as i passed through the south waterfront.  the wind forced the tiny splatters on the concrete into shifting patterns, lines formed by continuous drops snaked across the road.  travelling up the west bank esplanade it began pouring, but enjoying the ride i decided not to stop and take the train home.  the only other person out in the rain was a committed runner: shirtless, muscular, pushing a baby stroller, and though i, too, braved the rain, i did not feel half as fierce.  he must be a true oregonian.

when i made it home to north portland, i found myself pretty wet despite my rain suit, but invigorated, happy.  i walked down to amnesia to meet john, mikiel, and zebra.
during the commute from work, i remembered my first experience with the oregon rains four years ago. i remember october that year as painfully wet. the rain never-ending, knee high pools of water formed where leaves had piled up over sewer drains. i felt constantly damp, constantly cold, never comfortable.

i had started dating a man almost immediately upon moving to portland. he and his friends seemed indoctrinated to the wet atmosphere, accepting. this guy took me at the beginning of november as his date to his friends' wedding held at cannon beach. a large group of us carpooled from portland to the coast where we rented a house on the beach. gloomy, gray, wet, rocky, i'd never seeen the coast out here before and found myself fascinated, loved the starkness, dark but beautfiul. the wedding ceremony took place the next afternoon with a large reception afteward in a community center at the town square. late that night, with the even wrapping up, my date and four of his friends took the last few bottles of champage and walked the two miles down the beach back to the house in which we stayed. sprinkling, cold, the sand wet, the night pitch black, all i could do was take off my shoes and merrily march with the rest, singing, laughing, taking swigs of champage. at some point to live in the pacific northwest you have to learn to stoppy worrying and love the rain.

last friday night, i found myself at a party in southeast for the members of magic mouth (and boeke), the band having just returned from a month long tour across the country. the gathering spilled out of the house as friends went out to smoke. pouring we crammed in onto the porch, but as it let up, just sprinkling, we trickled out onto the sidewalk, not minding the rain too much, not minding our hair getting a little wet. my date to the party, new to the city, turned to me and said, "everyone here is wearing boots." i looked down at his own shoes and thought that soon enough he would understand his canvas shoes would not cut it in our rainy climate.

the rain here will not bother me until may. i find the cloudy skies then hardest to accept. the basil ganglia in my brain still accept the reward of spring sunlight and warmer days. but even if i can never accept the clouds that last until july, at least the clouds here both me less than they did when i first moved to portland. i no longer obsessively carry a raincoat with me everywhere.

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