To Not At All
Saturday. I drove the eight miles north to Portland late this morning as my sister and her family were leaving for San Francisco. Napa, actually, this first night, and San Francisco tomorrow. Long drive. I wish them well. Portland with the sun shining is a really nice town. I talk about the trees along the streets, some few of the streets, in Oakland, but Portland downtown sidewalks for tens of blocks around Pioneer Square sit in cool multi-colored shade. Nice. Very nice.
There's are the usual national chain operations, Starbuck's, for example, at one corner of the Square, but there are other walk in shops along the streets, restaurants and curious stand alone little stands selling burritos and pizza and hot dogs and soft drinks for those who don't find a need to isolate themselves from the natives or watch their cholesterol. I have no idea what other cities look like anymore, how many Starbuck's on every corner, how many old Joe or Mary's American Meals, but if they're anything like California suburbs, they're all big chain plastic. Is this good? Doesn't matter. If it did matter it wouldn't be happening.
I would like to say I shot many a picture. My comment yesterday that I'd compare my shooting today with my shooting of the same area four years ago was, evidently, just that: Something to write. I knew it when I wrote it. I tell myself I'm here to detox and maybe part of detox is not thinking ahead, I'll do this, I'll do that. I did sit and drink a Coke at a sidewalk purveyor of, I believe, Middle Eastern pizza. I was feeling light headed and needed a chemical realignment.
A miniature pine tree in a large pot sat on the sidewalk beside my table. I shot a couple of photographs, the muted colors of the sidewalk out of focus behind it, a single ray of light on the plant itself. Well, I had to shoot something. I'd make up a rule that says taking a camera out for a walk should be like a Gurkha taking knife from scabbard. There must be blood on the blade before it can be returned. The rule should read I need to shoot a photograph, as real as I can make it, before the day is finished and the camera is placed back in its case. I would make the rule except I have too many rules, many of them made by idiots, no need to add baggage. Or is that a rule too? I need a nap.
Monday. Back in Portland. My mother and I spent the night with my cousin's family in Seattle. The family party was held at another cousin's house on Bainbridge Island, an island across the bay from Seattle, an island I managed to pass coming up from the south without noticing its presence early Sunday afternoon. Hi, ho. I seems there's more to learn in life than learning to tie your shoes. (Map? I don't need no stinking map!)
We arrived an hour late, the party well underway, an amazing amount of food. A five hour drive up, a four hour drive back, a family get together sandwiched between, adventures: a nail in a tire, a slow leak caught in time, no damage done, no nerves frayed, a ride on the Winslow ferry across to Seattle last night, the weather here and the weather up there hotter than I remember summer weather ever in the Pacific Northwest. Good thing I have Bush Junior's assurance global warming is but a liberal figment of the collective ego, lest I be concerned. No need to be concerned.
On the weather, in talking with one of the many relatives at the party, she mentioned her father(?) uncle(?) had kept a sleigh and horses for the winter snows. Snows? Even in the late forties I don't remember Seattle snow. A blizzard once in 1949 in the beginning of March, but no real snow. The later years, the college years, all the visits, I don't remember snow. I don't remember once buying anti-freeze for my cars. Yet her father or grandfather had kept a sleigh and horses for winter, um, travel? Frivolities? Was he maybe whacko? Or ninety degree days on Puget Sound something new?
Hmmm. A family reunion and I'm talking about the weather as I sit here in Portland drinking a $2.99 Chardonnay, the temperature in the nineties, the news commentators describing the wild fires sweeping across Oregon, the humidity higher than I recall, although I know Portland's weather little to not at all.