A Sidewalk Conversation

Tiles mark on address on 12th Avenue in the Irvington neighborhood of Portland, Oregon

“What would you like to know?” asked the Oracle.

“What year will I die?”

“The answer is at your feet,” she said.

I looked down as numbers suddenly appeared in the concrete. “2146? Are you sure?”

“Of course I’m sure!”

“It’s just that it’s 130 years from now, and I’m already 50.”

“Ah, well, you’ll be mostly robot by then.”

“I see. Will my death be peaceful?”

“For you or the dinosaur?”


“I’ve said too much!”

Urban Wildlife

A sculpture of a frog playing the banjo in a garden

One downside to living in an urban neighborhood is that I don’t see much wildlife near the house. But perhaps I just haven’t been looking closely enough, as while walking Ellie I noticed a frog, a bird, and some rabbits, all within a block of each other.

A colorful sculpture of a bird in a garden

They were clearly accustomed to not only humans but also dogs, as they didn’t seem to be bothered by either my presence or the faithful pup waiting beside me.

Rabbit decorations in a yard

Poet Tree

Poet Tree

Several people in the neighborhood post poetry outside their homes, either in a dedicated housing or in this case, attached to a large tree by the street. Sometimes the poetry is self-written, while some highlight the work of others. Ellie and I pass by this tree pretty frequently on our walks, depending on the route she wants to take home, and the postings change over time, a Pooh quote below and a poem above. I was rather struck by the current poem, Langston Hughes‘ “I, Too”. I despised poetry in my youth so it’s not surprising that I was familiar with neither poem nor poet, but I was both moved and educated on our walk that evening.

I, Too

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I’ll be at the table,
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”

They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed —

I, too, am America.

Langston Hughes

This Year’s Vacation Notice

An Artist Retires

My whiteboard art doesn’t seem to be getting better from year to year, although I am making increasing use of color. I’m hoping that my art form (known as stickism) will catch on and I can start paying for my meals by signing napkins like Picasso.