One of the best times of year in Portland is the false spring of February. The sun is out, it feels warm after so many cold gray winter days, and the idea of summer begins to be realistic. I love it for two reasons: one, it is the perfect temperature, and two, it is going to get shitty again soon.
There is something about people latching onto the sun like a lifeboat to only find that it has a hole in it and they will have to bob up and down in the shark infested waters that is late winter and early spring before the real lifeboat of actual good weather shows up to pick them up. Maybe it is mean to be so tickled by hope being demolished by heavy spring rains. Maybe I wonder why so many people move here to bitch about the weather day in and day out.
Mud can only be beautified by the crocus, daffodils, and hyacinths that sprout up during this week of sunny day delights. You start to see the little nubs of buds growing on the trees. Sometimes the cherry trees bloom to the delight by all only to be completely destroyed by the heavy downpours of March and April. The little shoots from the mud bulbs drown under the grey sky ocean. The hope of man drown as they stare out of their beautiful craftsman home that they assembled from the help of Kinfolk and Pinterest.
People try and walk the neighborhoods without jackets; instead they rely on hoodies or Pendleton sweaters, but they freeze everytime they pass a shadow. The shops on the dark side of the street wait impatiently for the sun to move across the blue faded sky so the herds of sun worshippers will walk on their side of the street and see their offerings. An hour or two before sunset, people who weren’t dressed for winter retreat to their cars to head home because the temperature has finally become lower than comfortable.
One of the best things about the false spring is that this is the week that coffee is perfect for. You can stand there in the sun only feeling a breath of warmth, but the coffee is keeping you warm. I guess tea can do that too, but I don’t mess with the empires that have risen and fallen to the whims of tea.
Soon the rains will return. Sometimes another winter will hit. Sometimes there is snow in March. It’s hard to put on the puffy vests and stocking caps again after being rewarded with warmth and sun for a week. This is the last straw for a lot of transplants and natives alike, the long stretch of eternal darkness that is a Portland spring. While other locales are worse for weather, the long mild grey spring has saddened even the most happiest of fools.
While those that bemoan the water falling from the sky, the forests become thicker. The sticks that stand straight up begin to show little buds. The ground turns from mud to a carpet of mass and ground cover. The dripping from the trees falls onto small soft fuzzy leaves that are so brightly green. When during late fall and winter you could see all the way across the ravines in the woods, now you can’t see to the bottom of the ravine, for the green is exploding.
Water is the very essential ingredient in life, but no one wants to endure it in there day to day life because it is inconvenient. I doesn’t allow for perfect days. It proves that while we have all this technology, nature still thrives and bests us. Being annoyed by outside is being bested by nature.
I picture people staring outside at the sunny day planning camping trips, trips to the beaches, and all the BBQs they will have in their backyard. I picture so much hope in a time that hope is an actual commodity. This is a blast of hope before we return to our regularly scheduled hopelessness. People are picturing what they will be doing instead of what is happening. People get a lot more out of doing than just having things happen.
I find a lot of delight in this week of hope because it has so much potential for so many, but I can’t help but to feel a little delight in the fact that it will not be for much longer. In fact I just checked the weather and I see that starting tomorrow there will be rain, and on top of that it all starts out with a wind advisory.
Did you do enough with your week of sun? Did you pack all you could in the time between winter weather systems? Did you believe, like so many believe every year, that this was the beginning of what was to become instead of a short commercial break between terrible TV shows? Some of you know to get out and do life like a Mountain Dew commercial, and others know that it is pointless to even try and enjoy what will be taken away so quickly. Other people keep falling for it and others haven’t been here long enough to understand that this is a soul crushing cruel joke played by nature herself.
Maybe you find me bitter with my enjoyment of people getting the happiness pulled from under their feet. Maybe you think I’m an asshole, but I assure you that without the returning of rains and colder temperatures, this false spring would not taste so sweetly as it does. I plan on going downtown and enjoying a cup of coffee and feel the sun on my face.