Friday, May 30, 2008
So, the Rose Festival has begun in Portland, Oregon. Flowers are in bloom, the waterfront will be beset by a carnival, there will be throngs of cranky folks milling around, and trying to find a parking place downtown? Good luck with that.
At least it's not raining.
One of my favorite memories of the festival was when St. Helens erupted. Everything in town looked like it had been downwind of a concrete plant for forty years; ash was falling, and the colors were all gone. Streets swirled like gray baby powder, you had to clean your air filter daily. People wore painters' masks. Jets flew around it to keep their engines from being ground apart. The post office was shut down for a time because people were mailing envelopes full of the ash to friends, and the envelopes were breaking open when they ran through the stamp-canceling machines.
Then, it rained, and gutters full of ash -- read: gritty sand -- soaked up the water and peeled off houses like ripe bananas thrown into a cage full of hungry chimps.
Ah, the good old days.
If you plan to go this year, take the MAX train, and even then, be prepared to wait ...