Between the showers

Here at the UAL HQ we’ve been eagerly awaiting El Nino. While El Nino typically means a wet California, it’s supposed to mean a drier Northwest.

Supposed to.

Oh sure, January is shaping up to be drier than December. But that’s not hard, as December was the wettest on record, a whopping 13 plus inches, almost three times the monthly average. Anything is drier than that. And while we’ve had a sunny day here and there (and a well-deserved dry break around the New Year), it’s still been overwhelmingly wet.

But while there hasn’t been a heck of a lot of sun the past few weeks (or will be this week), we have been getting breaks. Y’see, since precipitation here typically rolls in from the Pacific, it usually comes in waves. So it might be raining now, but wait an hour. And sometimes the rain decides to stop around sunset and stay off for a few hours before new waves come in in the early morning hours.

Over the weekend I’ve managed to luck out with the breaks after work. (Going to work? Not so lucky.) And Sunday night I had to run a couple errands downtown. I don’t go downtown much anymore since I have few reasons to go. (I used to go down there a lot when the IPRC was there, but they moved to SE, and I rarely go there now, anyways.)  And downtown is special on a damp night with all the lights and slicked streets. I always love rolling across the Burnside Bridge at night with the big neon “Portland Oregon” sign gleaming. And Union Station is always magical. I’m glad that we have an urban downtown, it makes me feel like I live in a city vs. the overgrown town that Portland really is.

I used to do more later night rambles on nights like this. There was a time where I would do late night copies over at the Kinko’s in NW, then roll on down through the Industrial District afterward, under that reddish glowing sky of an overcast city. Or head on down by the rail crossings in Industrial SE and watch freight trains pass. As I’ve grown older and live further away from downtown than I used to, this happens rarely. And I don’t think I’ll be doing those things that much again, since I need to be up “at a reasonable hour” more often than not and I don’t function well on little sleep anymore. And maybe I’m romanticizing the past, especially my “early years” in Portland. (I’ll be here 15 years in April.) But maybe it really was fun?

Anyways, I love heading back home from downtown on a Sunday night. Typically Broadway Bridge and then the N Williams Ave bikelane would be full of “Cat 6” racers on a weekday at 6 pm, but now things were quiet, I could go at my own pace without worrying about some wanna-be roadie breathing down my neck. Peaceful.

Soon the rain will be back, most likely on my morning commute. But you can’t appreciate the dry without the wet.

2 thoughts on “Between the showers

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  1. aw, lovely:) Romanticizing or not, there’s something magical about revisiting old places that you used to frequent. I’m gonna be cheesy and quote something, but I always think of this:

    “Home. It’s being new and old all rolled into one. Measuring your new against old friends, old ways, old places. Knowing that as long as the old survives, you can keep changing as much as you want without the nightmare of waking up to a total stranger. ” (-Gloria Naylor). I think of that all the time when old places/habits/commutes/people make me nostalgic:)

  2. All that urban industrialism inspires the imagination for sure. But there has always been an incidious aire about those landscapes to me. Image of grey boxes, furnaces scattered about the hills in the cold northern hemisphere. Maybe I just read too much Lovecraft… Lolz

    Beautiful pics btw. But I’ll still take my gravel roads and open skies!

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