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Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Hunkered down at the Japanese Garden
One of the benefits of my membership in Portland's not-so-exclusive unemployment club is that I can attend events like free admission day at the Japanese Garden in Washington Park. It fell on Veterans Day and, while I wasn't officially out of a job yet, I utilized a soon-to-expire sick day to spend the day doing chores.
I found out about the event on Twitter late in the afternoon and headed up as what had been a gorgeous fall day was beginning to turn. The sky was growing dark as I started hiking up the hill to the gardens' gate. I made the decision not to go back for my umbrella, thus ensuring, through some obscure statute in karmic law no doubt, that a storm would roll through at any second.
Thirty minutes later, idyllic landscapes like the one above were getting bombarded with hailstones. I sought shelter inside the pavilion next to the Flat Garden with a few dozen others. The garden was shutting down for the night but no one was willing to weather the storm and the staff was reluctant to kick us all out into the elements.
So there we all stood, awkwardly staring at cells phones while a few kids idly drew diagrams with their feet in the fallen hail. The orange autumn leaves and the rain created a view from the veranda that was equal parts intimidating and real durn purty. It was the sort of odd, random experience people remember forever but, once a baby started wailing and shattered the serenity in the air, I decided to blaze a trail back to the car. Soaked to the bone, I turned my car towards downtown as a rainbow shot up and over the tennis courts.