late summer

school courtyard garden, St. Johns

This whole between-season fall thing makes me restless. The light shortens. Dry leaves crumple underfoot. Memories assault.

Last weekend was still hot. Nature whispered, Enjoy it while it lasts. But I didn't enjoy it enough, didn't take advantage, no bike ride, no picnic, no feet dangling in the river above the toxic algae bloom—yet another regret. Then a storm blew in this week, previewing the long, cold, wet months ahead. So now I'm wearing boots again, and it's still too warm for boots but too cold for sandals. High heels aren't made for walking. And I still own nothing in between. (Isn't that a symbol of something?)

Random thoughts flit past like doomed monarchs, possibilities on wing. Go teach in Turkey? Move back to California where the sun actually shines beyond July and August and half of June and September? Sign myself up for the four-to-seven sequestered years of a likely fruitless Ph.D.? Anything but this limbo of mental pacing. Nine months of gray drizzle ahead, the horror! But Confucius whispers, "Wherever you go, there you are." My little gray cloud followed me halfway around the world before. It would find me in Turkey or Timbuktu.

And then I read an Oregonian article citing a New York Times article claiming Portland's in a pocket of grace from global warming, its population likely doubling in size in the not-so-distant future as an escape hatch for climate refugees from southern California, the Southwest, and the East Coast. And that is exactly why I moved seven years ago from the Bay Area up here to The Land of the Perpetual Gray Skies. I've long seen what's coming, maybe because I was reared steeped in Mormon End-Times prophecies (which is why they call themselves "Latter-Day Saints"). I'm an early climate-change refugee. I must keep reminding myself of this, like a mantra: Portland has rain. We will have water. Be grateful. (Prepare for earthquakes.)

But when the sun comes out, those rare days confetti-ed throughout the year and the two or three precious months of summer when everything green glows in gold light—how lovely, this place.

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