Three years ago, we moved to Portland. We came for its urban culture and forested parks, the wide Willamette crossed by soaring bridges, and for Auntie Katie and the cousins.
We found all those things, and more. And even in the pandemic shut down, there is a lot of city to enjoy.
PAM, the art museum, is a feast for the eyes and spirit, just a walk away. Attendance is limited to keep folks safe, but the art there can carry you away for a while.
Art isn’t just in the museums, either. It is everywhere, bright and outspoken.
The parks are still wonderful places filled with hundred year old trees, ditzy squirrels, and flowers.
Our city has gotten a bad rap, lately. Mr. Trump says we have been “in flames for decades.” He is lying. Our nightly demonstrations in a few blocks of downtown make him nervous, is all. They show we will stand up to police brutality and racial injustice.
And they are as much a part of what I love about Portland as the museums and the forests. I am glad to be a part of it.
With the corona virus shutting all our favorite businesses down, our neighborhood has gotten a lot quieter. Last Friday, we walked past half a dozen boarded up buildings to get take- out food for dinner. It could feel sad and lonely, but Portland artists have stepped up to help.
Yesterday, Auntie Bridgett and I walked down to Belmont Books. She had contacted Joe, the owner, and asked about a particular book on pattern and design, and he had found it! He has re-organized his shop layout so that the counter is just at the door. When he is open, you can walk right up and ask him about books on a subject and he will hunt them up for you.
On the way home, we walked by our old pinball haunt, The Belmont Inn. It is not a high end place, sort of a dive bar…. but it’s OUR dive bar, you know? Pinball and pool tables, and televisions where there was always some game on. Beer on tap and ciders.
Now, the windows are completely boarded up, so we have no idea what’s going on inside. Are they laying new carpet? Painting the walls? Dancing the hokey pokey? No clue.
But what we can see, the art on the boards, is adorable and quirky. There seem to be several artists with very different styles sharing the space. Sweet lambs pose on light backgrounds and geometric colors are on one panel, and just next door is a garish red Wolf telling us to Stay Home and Stay Safe.
Since art usually has a message, are we the sheep? Is corona virus the wolf? I will leave that to the philosophers. I am just glad to have bright paintings to look at.