It’s raining on Sauvie Island. I knew it would be and drove the dogs here anyway. I wanted to smell fields and cows and had a hunch they did as well.
The car is parked under a tree, whose leaves have not yet filled in, at the fenced edge of a vast expanse of farmland. My eyes play a focusing game, first on the raindrops as they hit the windshield, then the tree, then the field. Every two minutes or so I turn the key halfway in the ignition, pull the windshield wiper knob towards me for one swish to wipe it dry and turn the key back to off. My eyes play their game again.
It’s not warm yet. Robins have returned. Forsythia and magnolia have started to bloom. But the other day when I left my house it was 37 degrees and my car was covered in ice. It seems Portlanders have a longstanding tradition with “fake it ‘til you make it” (news flash guys: you live in a depressing climate nine months a year and summer happens to be awesome everywhere, not just here!) and I’ve decided to give that a try. I left the house in rain and cold determined to find signs of spring and enjoy them.
Later it will hail and I will sigh as I drive home in darkness, but for now the sun is peeking out from behind the clouds and we, the dogs and I, are walking down a country road. My long sleeve shirt/hoodie/winter jacket combo is not enough to keep me from shivering but at least the rain has temporarily stopped.
A few minutes down the road we are standing in front of what we came for: fields and cows. Ironically, as the Portland credo goes, we are across the street from a clothing optional beach on the Columbia River. But never mind that, we are facing the cows. They moo as they chew their cud. A baby nurses from his mother’s udders. We are pleased with our view.
As I fumble for the camera phone in my front pocket Banjo gets himself stuck halfway under the barbed wire fence. Tobi spins in circles, whining, tangling all three of us amongst the leashes. We have arisen the suspicions of the nearby cow I wanted to photograph and he has walked away. Nicely done everyone. We move on.
There is an escapee across the street. Dangerously close to the road and not fifty yards from the river, he stands placidly munching on grass, paying us no mind. It seems like a good idea to walk towards him. Until he looks up and stares us down that it is…
Right OK! Back to the car everyone, nothing to see here. La la la.
Back to the car indeed, just in the nick of time. We climb in and the clouds unleash a downpour. Five minutes is all you get around here this time of year. You have to make the most of them in order to not go crazy.
My brush with crazy has thankfully passed. Regardless of the weather, I believe it’s time to come out of hibernation and smile again.