Wine and Wind

May 3, 2009

We had crowded into a building filled with tables filled with wine. As we — wife and another couple — snaked through lines of people and sampled the wares of artisanal vintners, rain began drumming on the roof like it does in Florida, not Oregon. The sound drowned out the chatter. Wind swept through open doors. Curtains of rain swirled sideways. Then came thunder, and people cheered. They cheered because thunder is rare in Portland and because enough wine makes violent storms a happy backdrop on an early spring Saturday.

In a few minutes the storm was past and forgotten as more wine loosened tongues and wallets. Later at home came news that an ancient red elder tree in our neighbor’s yard snapped ten feet up and crashed to the ground, grazing the room where he was standing. And tragic news: a man driving on a southwest Portland street was killed when a tree fell on his car. All while I was drinking and buying wine beyond my means and remembering Florida thunderstorms sweeping away the heat and leaving a sheen on everything, like the world starting over.