Green Town

As often as possible, I like to take the old Felt bicycle out for a spin in the late afternoon. When I was working downtown, I rode main roads through light industrial areas, but now I can take the bike paths the  City of Portland has routed through residential neighborhoods.  In the past two months, I have observed a fascinating phenomenon related to behavior and weather.

For those unfamiliar with the climate of the Pacific Northwest, a thumbnail.  The band west of the Cascades, running from Northern California through Canada, spends about six months under heavy clouds.  We don't get a ton of real weather--highs above 90 and lows below 30 are infrequent--and migrants from Chicago or Southern California laugh at our vulnerability to heat or cold.  But ours is a psychological test--the unrelenting monotony of gray skies and dampness is what gets you.  Chicagoans, mocking in February, are usually pulling their hair out by June.  (On Friday, Portland enjoyed a high temperature of 56 and a low of 53.  Highs and lows are often separated by fewer than ten degrees.)  It is also a feature of our climate that during transitional months like May and June, the mornings will be chill and cloudy, but the sun will finally rally to break through and provide a glorious afternoon and evening.

Which brings us back to my bike ride.  I often wait for the clouds and drizzle to pass (or, more often, I leave when I see they won't clear out) so that I'm gliding through the city's neighborhoods from four to five o'clock.  On sunny days, I've been amazed at the aroma that wafts through those neighborhoods: the sticky green incense of burning marijuana.  It doesn't matter if I'm passing through Laurelhurst or Cully, the scent's the same.  We go from Portland to Kingston in about twenty minutes.

Now, I assume that there's a similar relationship with that other sticky Portland intoxicant, IPA, though I can't detect it as I'm riding my bike.  If Google could somehow invent a device that measured the consumption of beer--and since we're fantasizing, why not add in beer style--I suspect it would skyrocket during sun breaks.  If other people are like me, I suspect that's peak pale-IPA time, too.  Golden beer and golden rays--they seem to be made for each other.