Sunday, March 05, 2006

Time of Year

If you go by the weather…cold, rainy, windy…it is still winter here in the Northwest. But if you go by the daylight, you have a glimmer that the season is changing. It is no longer pitch dark when I get up in the morning. And day before yesterday, Princess and I were still out on our walk at 5:00 p.m., a time we are usually at home in the winter. On Saturday, there was a spasm of sunshine and just a hint of the promise of Spring in tiny green shoots poking up from the mud. Today it is Sunday morning as it has been…a time to curl up with the paper and maybe a third cup of coffee.

The news in the paper is not good. The Patriot Act looks poised to pass on the Meth Rider that has deflected attention from the main bill. The Dubai Port brouhaha will likely end as Bush wants it, with the “45 days of consideration” a sop to the demands of an ill-informed public and the clamoring media. In Oregon, Measure 37 has been upheld by the State Supreme Court and will make the concept of land use planning a joke. The Indians (and out here they are not Native Americans…they are Indians) will likely get to build their garish and polluting off reservation casino in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. Here in Portland, as in Iraq, curfews have been imposed to control the crowds of out-of-control teenagers during the melee heyday between Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day. Last night a drunk driver rampaged through nearby Gresham, killing one and injuring several before he/she abandoned the vehicle and escaped.

In the midst of this, I try to build a personal cocoon where my life is not threatened and I can pursue my interests and enjoy my activities. The Hideaway is the last residential dwelling in Multnomah County located between I-84 and the River. From here, I can zig-zag around industrial land and spend time in the Sandy River Delta and on the banks of the mighty Columbia. Shorebirds abound and soon wildflowers will blanket the ground. But development is knocking on the door, and soon this place will be at risk as “progress” moves in. Plans are afoot for Maya Lin (architect of the Vietnam Memorial) to design some huge glaring modern commemorative structure to loom over the riverbank in some kind of testament to the misery of Lewis and Clark who wintered here. This will bring giant earth moving equipment and noise to my peaceful place and, when finished, will bring a steady stream of tourists and their pollution and trash.

As the country lurches into this new century and I head toward the downward slope of old age, there is some pressure to get out and enjoy what is here now while I can. So…next week I am leading a hike in The Gorge and I will be out as many days as possible on my own.


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