The cyclamen are naturalizing in the back yard. In Colorado I knew them only in pots for the winter holiday season, so I get a kick out of seeing them make it on their own here. Little flames.
I am still feeling the relief and gladness of being able to go outside and see blue sky, or clouds that have shapes, or sunlight, instead of staying inside and breathing as little as possible because of the toxic haze of wildfire smoke. That was a hard week. Now the season has turned and the days are shorter, but we get another week of warm sun.
Picking up library holds is by appointment now, across a table blocking the entryway to the library. Tonight I will get Rocketman on DVD, The Evidence of Things Not Seen in print, and the sequel to a DVD about Dick Proenneke, who built a cabin by hand in what is now part of Lake Clark National Park in Alaska, when he was about my age in the late 1960s, and lived there for thirty years or so.
I used to adhere to a “never pay for parking” philosophy. It meant, for instance, parking at the big movie theater and riding the light rail across the river to go downtown. (Oh Fareless Square, you are not forgotten.)
Now I feel relief that I’ve let go of that and am both able and willing to pay for parking. And I’ve decided not to sweat the five cents for a paper bag, either, if I didn’t bring enough totes to the grocery store.
Middle age, I guess.
It is still dark when I walk home from the bus, evenings. I was not expecting a glowing rabbit on Harold Street.
I like January’s honest cold, better than the frequent chilly setbacks of springtime that start in February around here. Still, the last several photos I took on neighborhood walks seem to be of fences with a certain aesthetic:
On a brighter note, this morning I checked Twitter and remembered it was ALA Youth Media Awards day! I live on the west coast and am not a librarian, so I will probably always experience it in silence, sipping coffee in my bathrobe while feeling celebratory bursts.
My favorite book of 2019, Sal and Gaby Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez, won the Pura Belpré Author Award!
I don’t read a lot of picture books, but one I loved, Infinite Hope by Ashley Bryan, won a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. It’s autobiographical, with many excerpts from Bryan’s letters home during World War II, when he was in an all-Black company stationed on Omaha Beach during D-Day, burying fallen soldiers and shuttling out to the ships to unload gear as a stevedore. It’s also about how he stayed alive as an artist in the face of racism and war. A treasure.
And this was the first year that the American Indian Youth Literature awards got announced at this event, instead of separately a month or two later. The Middle Grade Book winner is Indian No More, written by the late Charlene Willing McManis (Umpqua/Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde) with Traci Sorell (Cherokee), and with this beautiful cover art by Marlena Myles (Spirit Lake Dakota, Mohegan, Muscogee Creek): In it, Regina is a kid when her nation loses federal recognition in the 1950s, and her family ends up moving away to LA, where the other kids only know about Plains Indians, through the distortion of TV and movies (so they think she’s weird and fake). Its publication was a collaborative labor of love among several Native and POC women, and seeing a kids’ book about disenrollment (and near where I live) feels important.
Yesterday Sang and I went with a vanful of college alumni to the dump! It was a tour kindly provided by a chemistry alumn who’s worked for Metro for 28 years. First was the solid waste transfer station, where commercial haulers and the general public bring trash. Sang and I had been there in the 90s, when we bought our house and discarded its very gross old carpets.
They sort out what they can to reuse or recycle. (Curbside recycling is collected and processed elsewhere.) This is the woodpile. Painted and treated wood is ineligible, so it’s mostly pallets and tree limbs.
Then we went to the adjoining Hazardous Waste facility. Our host worked here until recently; we saw the little lab where he’d worked his first job, testing unlabeled stuff people had brought in by dipping test papers into it and maybe adding something and setting them on fire, until it was ID’d enough that they knew what to do with it. Outside was a grove of rescued (rather than hazardous) gnomes and statues.
The last stop was the MetroPaint facility where leftover latex paint is remixed into standard colors and resold, a process paid for by the industry. The machinery wasn’t running on a Saturday, but an employee obligingly started up a giant mixer so we could go up a ladder one by one and see an enormous vat of dark brown paint being stirred. All the equipment had lots of paint on it.
Many people have worked for decades to make a five- to fifteen-percent difference in our overwhelming local (yet globalized) waste stream. It’s not nothing, but in Star Wars terms it’s a very small resistance force in the context of the empire.
I think everyone in the van would agree that change will happen, if it does, at the policy level. Yet conversation on the way back kept slipping into individual purity, like where is the one place in one suburb that you can drop off your #6 plastic for recycling, or how someone managed to find a school that wanted his hundreds of yogurt cartons for a project, or how a startup is delivering certain brand-name products in reusable containers like milk was delivered in glass bottles in the old days. I passed around some leftover trick-or-treat candy wondering if it was a faux pas because of the wrappers, but that was ridiculous no one said anything.
Cool new sculpture outside the art building on the college campus. Have not found info on title or artist.
Next is iced coffee and strawberries on the porch. This is the sweet season in Portland.
A cozy hitch.
I thought stuff with dip was already a Canonical Man Food?
Funny how many things almost count, or sort of count, for my commute graffiti collection.
My morning walk commute sometimes takes me down Clinton Street, where at 19th Avenue there is a preschool and community garden before you get to the car-traffic diverters at 17th.
Twice a guerrilla crosswalk has been installed, pleasing the preschool families, and twice the City has removed it. So this was here on Monday:
Seeing such a graceful solution– no liability for an unsanctioned crosswalk, yes painted reminder for drivers– made me feel hopeful all day.
Today I got to visit the source of my drinking water, Bull Run Lake.
I am pretty sure I’ve never seen a hopscotch grid numbered from the top. I kept trying to make sense of it after I had walked past, and ended up walking around the block to look again.
I have, however, seen a tiny hopscotch marked “for cats,” and I wonder if that’s what the smaller one is here. I can’t quite read the numbers.
Portland’s Biketown (because co-sponsored by Nike) bikes arrive tomorrow! The racks have been in place for a week or so– people happily started locking their regular bikes up at them, and then the city sent out some grumpy tweets and added the CAUTION tape.
This rack is just outside my office, so I’ll try a ride down by the river on my lunch break sometime soon. I admit, I don’t really understand the customer base for bikeshare. Commuters would want their own bikes, right? Some tourists will use them, in good weather, if they’re not afraid of sharing the road with cars downtown. Maybe close-in bar hopping after the bus stops running? I guess we’ll find out.