The First Day of Spring

Was today the first day of Spring? How does one tell? In other parts of the country Spring’s heralds are sunshine, warmth that penetrates to your bones (not yet, Portland, not yet), a second robin, and daffodils in bloom. Portlanders often call on these, but we have another way to reckon the year’s progress, up here, west of the Cascades. We attend to our rain and its quality.

Which brings me back to my question. Was today, March 12, the first day of Spring 2019?

I ask because … returning from lunch I parked my car in the college’s North lot and stepped out into sunshine. 100 strides later, I stepped onto the Blue Bridge under gray clouds and the beginning of a fine rain. The storm intensified as I kept walking south across the Canyon, and as I left the Bridge behind and turned east I seriously considered opening my umbrella. But, barely had I begun to mull this possibility over when I found myself rounding Eliot Circle, back in sunshine and a fine mist that was the only memory of what had just come before. I entered the Chemistry building in full sunshine ready to put all thoughts of rain and umbrellas behind me. And yet, 90 seconds later, as I swung open my office door, the scene outside had been transformed once again. My office window was awash with the fierce gray tat-a-tat and dark skies of another Portland rain shower.

Such is Spring in Portland. And it lasts a full 3 months.

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