Tuesday, February 26, 2008

unseasonable, unreasonable

february tree

So here I am, a responsible, professional grownup, becoming all giddy over a few preliminary signs of spring. Yesterday it was a few early bulbs, today it's a tree budding out. No doubt this all comes across as a tad silly and superficial, at least to any other Portlanders who may happen to read this. A core tenet of our local mythology holds that we are inherently sophisticated and morally superior because we get rained on all the time. As the story goes, the rain forces us all to stay inside and read books, instead of surfing and tanning and carrying on like those poor, benighted, sun-addled Californians.

It's kind of an odd notion, isn't it, that reading and sunshine are mutually exclusive? If that was true, one would expect that Powell's would shut down during our fair city's summer month(s), but visit the store on a hot summer's day and you'll be far from alone. It is, in fact, possible to sit outside on a warm day with a good book. I know this is possible because I've done it, and hope to do it again someday once the warm days return.

The myth, in essence, says that we read because the weather leaves us no alternative. So we go about endlessly congratulating ourselves for choosing the only option available to us. Essentially we boast of eating our Brussels sprouts, because they're good for us and we've gradually learned to like them over the years, and it just so happens that Brussels sprouts are the only item on the menu. To me this seems a rather halfhearted defense of reading, but there you have it. Never mind that there are a number of other things one can do indoors besides read. Like, oh, watching TV, for example -- an activity I suspect is just as popular here as it is everywhere else.

I didn't plan on going off on a rant like this, but our smug Portland mythology really grates on me at times. There's really no call for any intelligent person to pretend that rain is preferable to sunshine. That's just an idiotic opinion, unless you're a plant -- and even then it's best to have a mix of both.

In any case, the sun's out again today. So I think I'll wrap this up and head outside...

1 comment :

LeLo in NoPo said...

"our smug Portland mythology really grates on me"

Ha! Me too! Yet I know I'm guilty of it periodically, for sure. But as for being excited about signs of winter ending being silly and superficial? NEVER. These things are what get me through our long grey winters and often, springs.

Lovely photo, btw.