It’s just another July morning in Portland, Oregon, 2015, but it feels like sunrise on Crematoria. In the last few weeks alone, state heat records have shattered, drought-stricken trees have dropped major limbs all over the neighborhood, and my garden has begun to resemble those burnt brown potato chips at the bottom of the bag. All my outdoor plans have melted in this heat like crayons on the sidewalk.
Shut up at home, struggling for survival between two air conditioners, I long for an old, forgotten pint of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia shoved in the back of the freezer.(Oh, who am I kidding? There’s never any Ben and Jerry’s left over.)
The only trick I have left up my sleeve is hypnosis. I must induce a different reality, a colder reality….
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Ah, yes. I remember it well. The mercury fell faster than Donald Trump’s polls in Mexico, we heard news stations utter the phrase “Arctic Blast” for the first time in history, and no Frappuccinos sold anywhere for two whole weeks. Portland was in chaos.
Everything was frozen solid. The storm had laid down a quarter inch of ice at the end, turning each footstep into a crackling stumble through subzero creme brulé. But it made the ornamental cabbage look almost good enough to eat. Almost.
I yanked storage bins out of closets and laid all my hard core winter gear on the floor in rows lovingly like an Army Ranger preparing to reassemble a rocket launcher. Time to kick some ass.
They said my four-wheel drive V8 was overkill in Portland. Well, kiss my….…grill. I can go for coffee, pizza, and liquor today and you can’t, Portlandia. Neener, neener. But I’ll have to watch out for those Wheel Rut Kids, they can make for a bumpy ride.
Hmm, the green building enthusiasts are getting serious about using local materials.
Overnight, Forest Park turned into a multi-lane highway for sleds, snowshoes, skis, and mountain bikes. Snow rollers took their own paths. I left my calling card. Commonwealth Lake became a hockey rink for mallards.
With so much surface area locked in ice, whatever paddling spots were left over become hot real estate commodities. Everyone got to know one another.Personal space was at a premium, so certain proprieties had to be overlooked.
Unfortunately, all that beauty made it impossible for the ducks to dive under the surface to feed but they knew how to turn on the charm and panhandle. No self-restraint whatsoever in a crisis. I act the same way whenever there’s a sale on extra sharp cheddar.
The American widgeons, however, managed to preserve their dignity by independently foraging on the park lawn like puffy little herds of waddling green buffalo.
A lot of snow meant a lot of runoff so I went down to Willamette Falls to watch it from both sides of the paper mill company. The river was high but no where near the terrifying 1996 flood stage levels. Still, that’s a lot of melted snowmen, right there. Brrrrr!
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Well, that was a frigid trip down memory lane. I’m feelin’ cooler already. What’s the thermometer outside say now?
December 21, 2008