His gold complexion dimmed

Not only do I find myself asking what day it is, but lately I've had to remind myself what season it is.

I just checked: It's summer.

A few of the rituals are here. The yard needs tending. The thermostat got flipped from heating to cooling. But the summer shindigs are missing. 

Out here in the American West, just about all the towns, big and small, have their annual "days" – long weekends (or longer) in which people get out, come to a central place, and celebrate everything, or nothing. Fireworks, carnival rides, parades, hot dogs, beer gardens, dancing in the streets, that sort of thing. This year, they aren't happening, or if they are, they're greatly diminished from the norm.

Here in Portlandia, there was no Rose Festival. Now, as a longtime resident, I hardly ever participate in those festivities any more; like that of a lot of old-timers, my instinct is to get out of town for at least part of the time. But now I see that it has always been comforting to have a Rose Festival to not go to. For all its outdated dopiness, it's in the local DNA.

This time next week, the Blues Festival is supposed to be happening. I was there for the first note of the first such event, and there have been many memorable moments over the years since. If you can't get down there to take it in in person, the local radio pipes it all in to you for free. This year, there will be no such rockin'.

Maybe next year, folks. Let's hope. In the meantime, there is still a rose festival of sorts out in the side yard. The first blooms of the year have come and gone, but the bushes have been dead-headed, and they are really liking all the sun. New flowers will be here shortly.


  1. Even if the Blues Festival had gone on, the name would have to be changed. The Blues began in the 1870s and you know what that means. Any acknowledgement of the Blues is an offensive reminder of a time in our history that we're trying to forget. That reminds me: we also need to tear down the Statue of Liberty. It's clearly racist and sexist and besides, calling it Lady Liberty is elitist.


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