Sunday, February 17, 2008

Oregon weather

I love thunderstorms. I like interesting weather. I like quiet afternoons spent in a coffeeshop reading and writing when the weather is lousy. But, really, when you want to be outside hiking or biking around, the last thing (I think) anyone wants is a cold, wet day with intermittent rain and sleet. Lousy, almost uninspiring weather that turns trails in the Central Dissected Till Plains Region into a muck. You can lose a shoe walking through these soils when they're wet. Biking on muddy trails requires stronger quadriceps than I'll ever have.

Leave it to my favorite Latin poet to remind me that days like these are fleeting...even in Columbia. Make the best of it, be productive. Read, write, do laundry. Make gnocchi. For my lovely friends who prefer Horace in his native tongue, I'm attaching the Latin at the end. From a fun collection of translations I received as a Christmas present, from Horace's Odes, II.9.

Clouds do not send their rain down endlessly
On the rough-whiskered fields, nor do
Dogged gales work up the Caspian Sea
All year, nor in Armenia, dear friend,

Do glaciers remain inert month after month,
Nor do those rough oak-forested headlands
Poking out into the Adriatic suffer squalls that
Pull leaves continually away from their branches...

Columbia's cultural sites are closed on Sunday mornings and the coffeeshops and restaurants are packed to the gills with college kids, who left not even a single chair open. I shuttled back to my little house, armed with a fantastic Morbier, and finished my book. Missourians should be like Oregonians at times like these, grateful for everyday...reading, writing, cultivating interests, doing quiet indoor things while the landscape takes in the pleasures of rain. In Columbia, these stretches of crummy weather only last a week or so. In the wonderful state of Oregon, the great state I'll live in one day, weather like today's lasts for months. July at the beach cabin? 50 degrees, windy, rainy. Christmas in Salem? 30 degrees, windy, rainy. I need to be more of an Oregonian at times like these. Good, productive folks, I've never heard a one complain about weather.

Non semper imbres niubibus hispidos
manant in agros aut mare Caspium
vexant inaequales procellae
usque nec Armeniis in oris,
amice Valgi, state glacies iners
menses per mones, aut Aquilonibus
querqueta Gargani laborant
et foliis viduanteur orni...

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