Put a Bird on It, Portlandian

I believe being able to laugh at oneself is a virtue. :>

Have you ever seen the show Portlandia? Or do you happen to be familiar with my beautiful city of Portland, Oregon?

The Portlandia joke that has resonated most with me is “Put a bird on it!” which basically goes to say that there are birds on everything here. We have lots of birds, so maybe it’s just because they’re familiar companions. But it also speaks to the idea we’re a sappy, tree-hugging bunch. Oh, just watch it. I can’t do it justice, and I won’t try.

This idea has its roots in reality. There are many sappy tree-huggers in my neck of the woods. And they’re nice. I like them. I also like the folks who actually go out into that wilderness to make their living, or to keep others safe, or for the sheer joy and adventure so close at hand. My state is full of these interesting dynamics. People who have family going back generations here (including me — one branch of my family tree arrived in the 1870s, and I will happily live out my days here) and people who have become Oregonians more recently, by choice. One large metropolitan area (Portland) makes up half the state population and drives electoral politics, making choices that often don’t jive with opinions in rural areas of the state. The most divisive issues often revolve around the meaning and place of environmentalism and stewardship of the earth…Okay, so that’s enough of the socio-political stuff. πŸ™‚

I bring this up because birds appear everywhere in my stories, it seems. Take the swarm of crows in Vessel. Or the fact that both of my characters in Flight are bird shifters. But all of these characters have their root in Irish lore — so maybe it’s not me, and not Oregon, at all. Of course, I chose which lore to focus on. And it’s true I do have a fascination with birds. My iPhone cover is purple, with birds. That’s all the evidence I can think of at the moment. My husband would probably be able to point to more in a heartbeat. πŸ™‚

About J.R. Pearse Nelson

J.R. Pearse Nelson is a native Oregonian, residing in the beautiful Portland area. She lives with her husband, two small daughters and the family dog. J.R. is always searching for the magic in our world. She weaves tales rooted in mythology, bringing legend to life in modern-day and fantasy settings. J.R. is the author of the Children of the Sidhe paranormal romance series, the Foulweather Twins fantasy series, and the Water Rites fantasy series. You can connect with J.R. online at her website. Visit jrpearsenelson.com.

3 comments on “Put a Bird on It, Portlandian

  1. I’ve never seen the show, but that clip was hilarious. I love birds. One of my co-workers made me a double shepherd’s hook (he does a little blacksmithing) and hung a bird feeder for me outside my window here at work.

  2. I love that show! Birds, eh, not my favourite animals (anteaters), but I’m sure birds are better decorations than anteaters. And yes, the northwest as a whole is the prettiest place on Earth. I’ve lived in Washington and Alaska. Visited Oregon, Northern California, and eastern Idaho. All beautiful.

  3. I’ve never been to Portland, but I see Portlandia as not just talking about a specific type of person who lives in Portland, but the type of person who lives in quite a few other places. For instance, here in Cali, we have our fair share of the type who would want to know all about where their chicken (good Collin) came from. hahaha

    That clip made me laugh, though.

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