Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Girls In Their Summer Dresses

One nice thing about the warm weather is that the heavy clothes come off.

Nice, for me, because I like the freedom of going without heavy shoes, heavy coats, everything heavy, encompassing; I like the warmth without having to dress to obtain it.

And also nice, in that everyone else gets to come out of their winter clothes and into their light shirts and sandals.

And the Portland women, and girls, so dark and dour through the winter in their rainjackets, fleece, and heavy shoes bloom in a delicious profusion of color and movement.Floaty summer dresses, pretty tops in bright, sunny colors. Toes painted like candy lighten up sandals and flip-flops. Even their movements seem lighter and more joyful. They're lovely, and I enjoy their sudden emergence from winter's drizzly hibernation.

One odd thing I have noticed this summer more than before, though, is the number of women (in particular, though I've been seeing men doing this, too) cycling in flip-flops. This seems peculiarly dangerous; as a kid I scraped the hell out of my foot when I blew out of a cheap rubber flip-flop riding my bike. In a bike-y town like Portland it seems odd that so many people are riding this way. But, there, I'm always amazed at how many Portlanders ride without helmets. Perhaps the cycling-in-flips is just part of the casual style of this town. Seems chancy to me...

One family member who is NOT so enthused about the weather is our little cat Lily. She hates the heat and spends much of her time sleeping in the shade or trying to find shade. That, and she always gets flea-ridden this time of year. She is allergic to their bites and tears at herself until the fleabane medicine and the winter's cold drive them away again.

Speaking of bicycling, I drove home from the Timbers game tonight - nice 2-nil win over Miami - and had to stop at the corner of Willamette and Parks to let a group of riders go by. I turned down Willamette and found that the entire bike lane was full of people on bikes; cruisers, hybrids, trail-a-bikes, unicycles...people wearing tutus, tuxedos, neon, wizard's hats, bridal gowns, all manner and color of chemlight glowsticks sprouting from bikes, helmets, and riders.

Turns out that this is something called the "Night Ride", and it happens every July. I couldn't resist; I stopped at the corner of N. McKenna and Willamette, found someone's put-out-for-the-taking chest of drawers sitting in the city strip along Willamette, and leaned on it watching the show. The riders looked like they were having a great time; there was lots of laughter, lots of bells ringing and little horns honking. I waved to the cheerful unable to stifle a silly grin myself. It was all very goofy, and very Portland. I stayed and enjoyed the impromptu night parade until the last little group of stragglers passed by and left the street to the cold streetlights and the silent houses.

But now it's late, and I have to get to bed.

Hope your summer Sunday is a good one.

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