I awoke this morning to a strange dream, a hodgepodge presumably drawn from current events in my life: creating a forum for the website, issues with the marketing of our condo unit, and a dispute with our previous BNB over cleaning expenses. We don’t care to discuss any of these details, but the dream itself was interesting. It is set in a very messy bar, with three participants – myself, our real estate agent, and Keith from Burgundy. I’m multitasking, alternately working with the agent at the bar, and with Keith staring at some document on a kiddy-sized table littered with trash.
OK, maybe not that interesting. Like most dreams, mostly of interest to the dreamer. That was this morning though, and this post is about yesterday, Saint Patrick’s Day.
I didn’t begin yesterday with the plan to take a CLC ride. I went out for coffee early at Common Grounds and then headed to the waterfront for a brisk training ride out to the Columbia and back. At the waterfront though, I’m forced to change my plans. Across the Willamette there are loud speakers blaring, an array of event canopies lines the waterfront, and crowd noises drift across the water.
Crossing the Steel Bridge, I hear a gun go off, and minutes later a few fleet green runners race past. A minute later, and it’s a green hoard: the Shamrock Run! I don’t even have my camera handy, so I dismount and hurriedly fetch it from the pannier, hoping the runners won’t move out of range before I fire off a few shots.
I needn’t have worried. The fast runners are long gone, but the less swift ones are here now; and then the less swift; and then the slow travelers – the joggers, the buggy pushers, the walkers. I’m trapped by a green hoard that just keeps coming and coming.
This goes on for a long time. As it proceeds, I’m also taken by the setting itself – I’m in the Japanese American Historical Plaza, at the onset of sakura season. It’s a colorful conjunction, the green swarm backdropping the blossoming cherries.
The Plaza is a heritage site, dedicated to remembering the madness that led to the imprisonment of 120,000 Japanese American citizens during World War II and the destruction of their communities, including what was once Portland’s Japantown, just blocks from here.
Standing here in the Plaza, I experience conflicting emotions as I observe the scene: the beautiful grove, with families and photographers milling beneath and posing before its blooming trees; thousands of runners and walkers happily celebrating Saint Pat and our Irish heritage; the memorial to the shameful treatment of our Japanese neighbors half a century ago. Reflecting on all this, I think too on our current mania and treatment of our newest immigrants.
It’s all too much for my pea brain to take in, so I turn my thoughts to something simpler – the CLC, and the imperative to contribute to the local economy so I can post this ride. In keeping with the spirit of the day, I choose another ethnic heritage to honor, and head over to Caffe Umbria for an almond croissant and coffee.
I’m slow in getting there though, because by this time the first of the runners are returning to the finish line. A long green line extends ahead to the horizon. It’s going to be a long wait until I can get across.