Seasonally Defective

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I checked the temperature on my phone when I finished my run: 90 degrees.
Strange. It was 33 degrees when I started. At one point during the run up Council Crest, the highest point in Portland at 1,071 feet , I did catch myself daydreaming about Summer. But it was certainly not 90 degrees on this January day.

Then I looked at what my phone believed to be my current location: Conarky, Guinea. I was fairly certain Guinea was the former French Guinea. (It is.) But the word Conarky, truthfully, I’d never heard before. (It’s the capital.) This was not the first time my phone had placed me in a transoceanic locale, when I could not have been farther away, on a trail somewhere in Oregon.

Though the trail up to Council Crest winds for miles through the woods, it is hard to escape the sounds of the city. There are houses and a hospital nearby. The trail crosses paved streets three or four times. The drone of the rubber on pavement from the interstate seems to hover in the air. But on this day, that drone served as a clean, white backdrop to the sounds of the birds that were out. The robins, the towhees, the woodpeckers, the chickadees and the little brown birds which I always confuse, sparrows and wrens and others. They too were excited about the sun and it’s warmth. It almost felt like Spring.

As I made the last little push to the top I found myself right back in Winter, surrounded by frozen fog that flocked the trees. I took a moment to stare at Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens, and then turned and plunged downhill for the return, passing back through Spring and slowing to a walk as I emerged from the woods. Steam rose from my body as I stretched by my car. A runner stopped and we chatted about the weather. As the heat of the run left me, I began to feel a chill creep through the fabric of my sweaty cap. I was suddenly cold and wondered what the temperature was. Which is why I was surprised to learn that it was a sizzling 90 degrees and I was in Africa.

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all content © Tim LaBarge 2013

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