Fridays’ Passing Fancy: Winter Light Festival, Soul’s Balm via Arty Fun

Winter Lights Festival and 101

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How to beat the winter blues? Easy: welcome to the third annual Winter Light Festival in Portland, Oregon and get ready for a quirky experience!

Because I can’t describe it any better, here is a brief description from Wikipedia:

“The Portland Winter Light Festival is an annual winter light festival in Portland, Oregon, in the United States. Each year has been presented by the local nonprofit Willamette Light Brigade[1] and powered by Portland General Electric. The festival is always open to the public and free to attend.[2]   The event, first held in 2016, featured over 40 light-based art installations, performances, and other activities, and took place exclusively around OMSI. ”

OMSI is the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, a wonderful place to visit. This year it was held at other venues as well, but we stayed around this spot as it was so lovely. There were 40, 000 attendees in 2017–likely a couple more thousand this year. But it was the first year Marc and I attended. By February we truly NEED more light to dispel the the usual winter rain-drenched gloom. But during our evening out there was no rain and it was warmer than usual.

The festival was held along the waterfront of the Willamette River. We had wonderful views from  the Tillikum Bridge, designed for cyclists, pedestrians and the popular transport, our Max train. This first bridge (we have 14 in the greater valley area) seen here is the Marquam Bridge as the sky darkens.

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Below, three views of the Tillikum, and a look beneath my feet. The rest are a few shots of what I saw. Enjoy! (As always, click on pictures to view larger sizes.)

Winter Lights Festival and 110

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A giant metal dragon entertained an enthralled crowd of all ages.

Winter Lights Festival and 215

Down to the riverbank for some quiet.

And back into the happy fray to end the cheer-filled evening.

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: A City of Roses Kind of Night

Irv., misc., downtown at night 024
All photographs by Cynthia Guenther Richardson

Night, canvass for city’s dashes, strokes;
lights, sharp or soft gestures in dark like
greetings tacked onto daylight farewells
as I explore alleys that curl and strike
through each block traversed.
These were scarred caverns, warehouses
where now entrepreneurs set up shop,
and housing, the sips ‘n eats and chic ice cream
along shiny parkways: like a giant bullhorn
it shouts new new new. I regret and accept this.

Every corner hawks its lore, ferments ideas.
Emptied lots host food cart delights,
a window is a doorway to other doors,
old industry is broken into new lines
that frame present and future,
each a step removed from the past.
Rubble can be made cutting edge,
even if not buried under thirty floors.
This big brightness of prosperity
hums in the night like a forgotten
tune reworked; it catches my ear.
I want to hum, too, though progress
may spurn a romance like mine.

But this is my rose; I’ve come to adore it.
My city has brought me to its embrace
through rains (and pain) that shatter air,
heat (and longing) that leaches greenness,
dirt and smog (and anger) that get into my house
like a pestilence. And then those winds–
they play every chime as if made of silver
and gold, spells of joy by day and an
alarm in odd, fang-studded nights.
Some voices that cry out are human flares.
I need this familiar and strange beauty,
even weeping, snarling. Prayer and love in shadows.

I carry my heart on and off the streets
to find people, a glory of sights,
twisty tales with more to come.
We all have our hands out, minds ajar.
No one gets away without something
to tuck into, to take back somewhere.
We slide by one another, eyes sweet

or lost in the kindness of lamp light.
We are who we wish under veil of night
in the deep wells of our city,
inside this Northwestern flower, its
perfumes that wreathe steel and glass,
wonders which will make way for others
beneath the vast presidio of mountains.

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