Monday, June 7, 2010

When Lilacs Last in Sucky Bend Bloom'd

Walt Whitman's great elegy for Abraham Lincoln begins with the phrase: "When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd ..."

Whitman chose the lilac as a symbol because Lincoln was assassinated on April 15, 1865, and in the areas of America with a normal climate -- i.e., those that have spring instead of Winter Phase II* -- the lilacs bloom in April.

While on a walk a couple of days ago I spotted a lilac bush that was just opening its blossoms. It is approaching mid-June here.

The lilacs are a good indicator of how the arrival of warm, sunny weather is always about two months behind in Bend. April here is like February in most other places. May is like March. June is like April. July is like May. And August is often like May again, which is kind of nice.

What's not so nice is that January and February are like January and February.

Postscript: The Washington state climatologist predicts that we should see warm, sunny weather by MID-JULY. Now ain't that just peachy keen.

*See preceding post


Anonymous said...


Yeah, this year it really hasn't seemed to matter whether you live in Beaverton ( or Boise ) it's clear, your 'suckitudinous' is spreading!

I'm really at a loss to explain it? Stumbled upon the PDO ( Pacific Decadal Oscillation ) theory just a year or so back and very clearly we're smack dab in it! So only another 15 years or 'so' more to add to your 25?

I moved here ( originally ) in the late 70's to the Salem area and it's not only a matter of not being what was 'advertised' ( it's gotten progressively worse! ) From the late 80's to the mid/late 90's I was perfectly cool w/ the quality of our Summers. Sure, Winter ( parts I and II sucked ) but at least, at the time, Summers 'seemed' to make up for it? Well not any more. With our children now raised we plan to start spending -much- of the year elsewhere.

blackdog said...

Aha, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation! Thanks for telling me about that -- I hadn't heard of it before. If the theory is correct the Northwest is, as you say, right smack dab in the middle of a long period of major suckitudinousness!

I and a number of other long-time Bend residents have remarked that the climate sucked much less 20 years ago or even 10 years ago (colder but shorter winters, warmer and drier springs) and now I learn there's a theory to explain it.

I assure you I will NOT stick around in Bend for another 15 years to see if the climate improves.

Anonymous said...


Like a frog in a petrie dish, it's so gradual many of us hardly noticed it?

Normally I take these far-flung theories with more than a few grains of salt.., but when you're confronting it each and every season..? I believe in Latin it would simply be expressed as "Res ipsa loquitor" ( or, "Let the facts speak for themselves!" )

( Don't hold me to the 't' on that one? ) But I think it's obvious to anyone that's willing to be objective... about this that clearly things have changed. Let me assure you I have NO designs on 'another' 15 years of pure torture to see if this weather-guesser at Udub has his ducks in a row!

But it invites a whole litany of other issues? So many things conspire against OR's. Draw a circle ( ever 'greater' circle ) on the map as to how far you and the wife are willing to drive to get OUT of this mess and it doesn't leave a lot of options? Outside of boarding a PLANE on a weekly basis.., you're talking about a 4 hour drive at a min. to get out of the "drear"?

Anonymous said...

Just as an add on, I will say, there's really only (2) reasons one would subject themselves to truly dreadful weather?

1. You're making TONS of money! If I ran a towing company in Anchorage, hell I'd be praying for snow!

2. Incredible, almost unbelievable LOW Cost-Of-Living! Good friends live just outside Pittsurgh, PA. Dreadful winters. Then again, he lives in 2 story farm house on 40 acres he bought for about $57,000 back in the early 90's!

You'll have all the 'discretionary' income you can shake a stick at to enjoy the pursuit of whatever it is that you enjoy! Here? Not so much.

I suppose there's a third and that's to take care of a sick family member but that's usually temp.

blackdog said...

"Outside of boarding a PLANE on a weekly basis.., you're talking about a 4 hour drive at a min. to get out of the "drear"?

No, I am talking about MOVING the fuck outta here!

Anonymous said...

Quick suggestion? Of late ( and we have no vested int. there btw ) the wife and I have begun to check out the Yreka, CA area.

It's still in the exploratory phase as we like to call it, but def. showing signs of promise! They 'too' made comments to the effect that their spring has been 'weird' and even 'crazy', but by any measure, better than our's.

Interestingly enough, this all started when I -volunteered- to be transferred down to K' Falls for my Guard unit. We thought, K' Falls ( it's 'got' to be an improvement over Salem? ) Oh little did we know!

But what it allowed us was a 'new' starting point from which to draw that 4 hour circle! So we tried just about everything, every weekend down there looking for utopia. Let me assure you 'this' ( uh... it's not in Chiloquin? ) So we kept looking.

I kept hearing from a number of guys that come 'up' from Cali ( Redding, Yreka etc. ) that "Dude, it was like 74 degrees when I got in my car this morning!" ( and 38 in KF? ) So we started checking. You know 'what'? They're really NICE people down there! True. They didn't play banjo's or anything! Spoke reel good engelish too!

( Seriously Blackdog, look into it )

blackdog said...

We're looking into Ashland. It's a pretty little college town, it has a lot of cultural activities, a real spring, and on any given day the temperature typically is about 10 degrees warmer than Bend's. It also gets more sunshine (though a bit more rain in the winter).

The Redding area gets hotter than hell in summer -- take that into consideration.

Anonymous said...

Oh Ashland is plenty nice! We stop there often and my wife and I love to stop by the little casino they have there etc.

I will say though, that "Highway" 66 is positively the pits! As... it happens we drove it -during- the Mem. Day weekend and it took almost 2 hours just to get to K' Falls! Our kids were camped out by Suttle Lake so we decided to come up 97.

You can't imagine our disappointment as the day wore on ( but the temp. gauge in our car barely budged! ) When we arrived at their site by 3:00pm, it was "nice" for all of an hour then commenced to totally deteriorate! Our kids ( both in their 20's ) and husbands continued to have a good time, because THAT is what young people DO, but the wife and I were overcome w/ disappointment, again!

Just no longer a 'given' we'll have a nice Mem. Day? The fact that it -will- get stifling hot in the Yreka/Redding area doesn't really bother us? I actually like the heat and people here tend to forget that when Joe the WeatherDude says "High of 71!" ( what he really means is for 10 minutes from 3:50pm to 4:00pm! )

And that's just it, other than that ( of late ) it takes an eternity to break 60, shaky every step of the way, then a QUICK clearing.., then it clouds over again. I'm just not into that any more, not that I ever 'was'?

Anonymous said...

Oh by the by, the way I came to realize ( that Bend TOO has sucky weather was by a totally different means? )

One of the writers for "The Source Weekly" and I share the same pet peeve.., Too Many "Festivals"! Like myself, he continually wondered ( under constantly gray skies ) just what all the damned celebrating was about!? He couldn't for the LIFE of him figure out why there need be yet 'another' ( nearly identical ) "Fest" weekend after weekend! I suppose that was around 2007, so ( like most others ) I guess I worked off the assumption you guys were running around in Speedos chasing chicks in bikini's by MAY..?

blackdog said...

"people here tend to forget that when Joe the WeatherDude says "High of 71!" ( what he really means is for 10 minutes from 3:50pm to 4:00pm!"

Es verdad.

"High in the 70s" sounds great until you realize that the temperature might only attain the 70s for half an hour at most.

Anonymous said...


They had me going on that one for years. With high hopes and the best of intentions, you'd head out the door on a Saturday w/ shorts and a t-shirt only to find yourself very grateful to quickly make your way inside or back in your car?

In truth, gauging the HFTD was one of the 'few' things they managed to get right? But like yourself, it's all behind me now.

The bigger issue is.., ( as many of your loyal readers have mentioned ) 'where' to go? I was stationed in the Philippines for a number of years as a young G.I. Ungodly hot & humid don't bother you so much when you're in your teens and early 20's, but all the old retired guys became basically "nocturnal" ( and it struck me as being kind of self-defeating? )

Noticed your early post on Cabo and the wife and I had long considered 'somewhere in Baja' for what seemed like an eternity? Sadly, crime has grown so rampant even "non-players" in fedoras and Hawaiian shirts can no longer consider themselves 'civilians'? Good friends go to La Paz and the ex-pat's there are basically under seige in their gated-compound. Great way to 'live' huh?